The client’s question

Biosimilars are an inevitable force in pharma. We at SKIM understand that the introduction of biosimilars may be a major threat to your brand. One of the challenges for biologics at the end of their patent protection is how to communicate the tangible and/or emotional benefits of the branded product in the face of assumed (and real) price differences with biosimilars. For Thomas, our client at a global pharmaceutical company, we used our expertise in messaging research for consumer goods and pharmaceuticals to help his brand develop counter-biosimilar messaging strategies to delay the uptake for biosimilars.

Our approach

When conducting counter-biosimilar messaging research, we ask three key questions. First, what is the criteria for determining effective counter-messages with physicians and patients? In contrast to regular messaging, the unique aspect of counter-messages is that it aims to persuade people NOT to take an action. Second, what combination of messages creates maximum effectiveness and reach? Finally, what are the commonalities that resonate and why?

The results

We found that the right counter messaging can significantly influence the switching behavior to biosimilars among both physicians and patients. Counter-messaging could very well delay the uptake of biosimilars over a considerable period of time. These findings shape our approach to messaging research and helped Thomas to defend his brand against emerging biosimilars.