Convincing cash constrained healthcare payers of the efficacy and value of orphan drugs is a major hurdle that must be overcome if pharma is to capitalise on this market. Once the product is funded, the next hurdle is to engage clinicians to ensure they are aware of the new treatment and its availability.

It’s not simply a case of targeting the prescriber, in many rare diseases it is vital to also engage general practitioners and other generalists to ensure that patients are diagnosed and referred. In this environment the traditional face-to-face salesforce approach simply does not make sense.

If pharma companies are to get such products through the ‘golden gates' to patients’ they must find new ways of engaging with payers from the R&D stage, and raising awareness among other GPs and specialists when the product becomes available. Digital channels, which provide an extremely effective means of delivering tailored messages to specific groups of doctors and building relationships with them, should be at the heart of the sales and marketing strategy.

For more information on, please call Tim Ringrose on +44 (0)1235 828400, or email You can also follow on twitter: @doctors_net_uk

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