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Can Your Stakeholders Answer the “Why Question”?

Maybe you have all the elements in place. The investment in your company’s robust pipeline has produced what’s poised to become a breakthrough therapy. Trials data looks strong. A savvy marketing plan is in place. FDA approval seems certain.

But before you move forward, I’d urge you to consider one more critical component. Ask yourself: Can my stakeholders answer the “why question”?  

To business management guru Simon Sinek, “why?” is the pivotal first step toward career fulfillment, success and self-actualization.  For his fans, the question may mean “Why am I doing this job?” or “Why does my work matter?” 

For manufacturers with high hopes for a promising new therapy or device, the question is “Why is this new treatment or device needed?”  For stakeholders, health care providers and, ultimately, patients to embrace your innovation, they need an answer – and a good one.

Some may say that having more treatment options is always a good thing.  That’s true.  But that argument alone will not drive uptake of a new therapy.  The answer to the “why question” must drill down to the problem that the new therapy solves – the benefit it offers patients, providers and communities. 

Consider a few possibilities.

  • Does the new treatment take a different mode of delivery?  Maybe the delivery method is less cumbersome, less painful or less time-consuming than that of existing treatments.  Maybe it’s more appropriate given the symptoms of the disease it treats.
  • Does the new treatment target an underserved patient population?  Perhaps this therapy is the long-awaited treatment that a specific group needs and values. 
  • Is it a new formulation? This treatment could extend the release time, speed the onset of relief or prolong the benefit to patients.
  • Does it improve outcomes?  Maybe it builds upon past technology to reduce symptoms, slow disease progression or even eradicate disease more effectively than previous treatments.
  • Does it enhance quality of life?  The treatment could carry a more manageable side effect profile, or offer preventive properties that shield patients from future exacerbations. Perhaps it allows patients to receive treatment at home or to capture the therapy’s benefit but with fewer administrations and office visits.

Key Takeaway 🔑
Think of your company’s new treatment or device as a narrative. It is the story of a challenge, an affected group of patients, and a solution born out of innovative medicine and medical technology. But only once the critical “why question” is answered, once health care providers and patients understand the value of a new treatment or device, can they make that story their own.  Only then can they make the case for access and uptake.

Woodberry Can Help
At Woodberry Associates we help life science companies build relationships with medical societies, patient advocacy organizations and policymakers, so together you can answer the questions that matter.