Savient focusing on reimbursement

Savient Pharmaceuticals launched Krystexxa, an orphan drug for chronic gout, and deployed a mix of sales reps, education specialists and business managers to help expedite reimbursement from payers.
Savient will target an initial 4,000 rheumatologists and 800 nephrologists, who have “a number of chronic gout patients that are refractory to conventional therapy,” as well as “infusion centers associated with medical centers or academic institutions, which multiple specialists might be using for infusion,” said Paul Hamelin, president at Savient.
Field forces include 60 “field-based territory sales managers, and six regional business unit directors to manage that team,” said Hamelin. “In addition, we have six managed care executives deployed, and we have [six] medical science liaisons in the field, and we have added [12] nurse educators to help with in-service at key institutions where infusion occurs,” he said. Also, 12 “area business solutions managers” have been deployed to help “ensure reimbursement at the infusion centers works efficiently,” said Paul.
John Johnson, most recently SVP and president of Lilly Oncology, and appointed as Savient's CEO in late January, emphasized the importance of speedy reimbursement. “We added area business solutions managers because reimbursement is so important,” said Johnson. Prior authorization from insurance plans “can take 12 weeks…our business solutions managers will help compress that,” said Johnson.
The Krystexxa launch will include “traditional marketing tactics, including the web to activate patients,” but there are no plans to roll out a large primary care sales force, said Johnson. “We may do some select tests here and there with contract [sales] organizations and the like, but we don't have any plans to burden ourselves with a large PCP sales force,” he said. H4B Chelsea has the AOR assignment on Krystexxa, and the agency is working on professional and consumer materials, according to Mike Peto, managing director, at H4B Chelsea.
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