The client question

Having a new drug added to the hospital formulary is a complex process, with many stakeholders involved. Especially, in the case of drugs that are prescribed by one type of specialist and administered by another. Our client at a global pharmaceutical company, Andrew, asked us to help him and his team understand the decision making process and key drivers that lead to a final decision to add a new drug to hospital formularies, and how to best facilitate the uptake of their new drug.

Our approach

Based on the rather complex and multifaceted nature of the decision process, and the exploratory nature, we suggested a two-step qualitative approach.

  • Step 1, Individual in-depth interviews with the different formulary team members:
    This step helped to understand the main decision makers and the decision-making process, and identify aspects in the decision that can be potential barriers.
  • Step 2, Formulary committee simulation quads: 
    Simulating a meeting by the hospital formulary committee helped to understand group dynamics; which is key to the successful design of a communication and support strategy that tackles all possible barriers.

The results

We found that evaluating drugs for the hospital formulary is a multi-disciplinary process, with hospital management as the final decision maker. Potential barriers can be overcome by proactively sharing information and by educating prescribing physicians. While adding a new drug to the hospital formulary is similar on a global level, we found that it is very important to assess the local situation, as the key person to target can differ per hospital or per country.

With these results, Andrew was able to develop a practical strategy on how his company can best facilitate the uptake of their new drug.