AstraZeneca’s first direct-to-patient program – one year on

Rebecca Aris interviews Steven Davis

AstraZeneca

pharmaphorum speaks with Steven Davis of AstraZeneca on how the first year of its first direct-to-patient program – ARIMIDEX Direct has been.

A year ago, AstraZeneca announced its first direct-to-patient program in the US, whereby patients with a valid prescription could receive the breast cancer brand ARIMIDEX® (anastrozole) delivered directly to their home, affordably.

It was a move that Steven Davis, (Executive Director, Foundation Brands, AstraZeneca) hailed “an important new way for AstraZeneca to help meet US customer needs.” It was spurred by calls from patients who sought information on how to obtain the brand ARIMIDEX more affordably.

One year on we speak with AstraZeneca to find out how successful the program has been.

Interview summary

RA: With ARIMIDEX (anastrozole), AstraZeneca is adopting a non-traditional approach to marketing, could you explain why this is?

SD: AstraZeneca develops many programs based on the specific needs of the patient and our business.

ARIMIDEX (anastrozole) lost patent exclusivity in 2010. Patients had called the Information Center asking how they could get ARIMIDEX more affordably. AstraZeneca conducted further research that confirmed that since ARIMIDEX has gone generic, many health care plans are no longer covering ARIMIDEX. Further, the price for generic anastrazole varies by retailer.

ARIMIDEX Direct is a responsive program for patients electing to receive and pay for the brand ARIMIDEX on their own.

RA: Why has no such program been conducted before?

SD: ARIMIDEX (anastrozole) Direct is a responsive program for patients who wish to continue with the brand ARIMIDEX.

RA: What benefits do you see to adopting a DTP approach?

SD: We believe this is an important way for AstraZeneca to help meet customer needs in the US.

DTP is about choice. It is about giving patients the choice to have the branded product. It may also help the physicians with fewer hassles in prescribing brand name ARIMIDEX (anastrozole).

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“DTP is about choice. It is about giving patients the choice to have the branded product.”

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RA: How has this been received by patients?

SD: To date, over 1400 patients are using ARIMIDEX (anastrozole) Direct. We’re excited to meet customer needs in the US in this way.

RA: How has it been received by pharmacists?

SD: For this particular program, Express Scripts is pleased to partner with us. The company offers specialty pharmacy services, which are a good fit for this program because the model allows us to pass cost savings directly to the patient.

AstraZeneca values its longstanding relationships with all types of pharmacies nationwide, including major chains, independent pharmacies, and specialty pharmacy services. We each have an important role to play in meeting patients’ needs.

RA: How do you respond to patient feedback around adverse events?

SD: Our partner, Express Scripts offers specialty pharmacy services including licensed pharmacists who are trained to recognize and report adverse events reported by patients who have entered the channel.

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About the interviewee:

Steven Davis, Executive Director, Cornerstone at AstraZeneca leads a portfolio of mid to late lifecycle brands across several therapeutic areas. He has over twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry in both sales and marketing. This includes sales leadership positions and marketing experience in the development and implementation of brand strategies for launch and in-line brands both globally and in the US.

What benefits to direct-to-patient programmes offer?