Following your competition’s moves with your copay program?

Written by Al Kenney on 20 November 2017. Posted in Co-Pay Program Optimization


Follow the leader has been a strategy used countless times over the centuries but the vast majority of times it has not worked out well for the follower. These days when we talk to brands, many say the same thing: "We just match or try and beat our competitor's copay offer". That strategy sounds harmless enough... but is it really?

There are many assumptions that you will be making when choosing to follow the competition. You are assuming that your competitor knows the best approach – but do they? And is this the best approach for your brand as well? Does copying your competitor's copay program structure best address the unique situation and patient base for your brand and will it meet your specific objectives? You need to be sure on all these details or else you will just be following your competitors down a rabbit hole!

The vast majority of the time the "Following the leader" strategy results in brands not meeting their goals. This is because the majority of time there is only one way to go with this strategy and that is down... down to a lower face value (and a higher cap). Then everyone sits around and wonders why no one is making any money. We often hear "We don't understand how our competitors could be making any money with that offer amount". Let's face it...this follow the leader strategy is driven by fear of the unknown. It's the easy way out just like when you were a kid and your mom asked you "if Jonny jumped off a bridge would you too?" Well I guess the answer can still be yes.

The optimal copay program structure is one that best addresses the patient's needs while also meeting the brand's goals and budget. A thorough predictive analysis should be done before the copay program structure is finalized to ensure that all goals are being met, including gross to net objectives and budget requirements. Just matching your competitor's program could be costing you millions of dollars and likely will not achieve your brand's goals! And, while you may think you need to match your competitor's offer, they are likely having the same conversation and may be interested in matching your offer! Many times brand teams are just waiting for the other party to move in a different direction and shortly after they will follow suit.

Be the leader and not the follower!