Oncology has been one of pharma’s most dominant therapeutic areas in recent years. And according to an Evaluate Pharma report, it’s expected to stay that way through 2026 and account for some 22% of all prescription drug sales.
But as the market expands, oncologists find themselves needing more and better information than they once did. As a result, they’re increasingly looking to the marketing world to provide them with the data to make more informed decisions about prescriptions, according to a new report from Syneos Health’s AnswerSuite offshoot.
The first OncologyAnswers report focused on oncologists’ promotional preferences, the factors that influence their treatment habits and patterns and the market access challenges they’re staring down.
“There’s been a significant investment from biopharma companies in oncology products,” said VP of strategy Christa Policella. “We want to be able to help the small companies that have maybe one or two products as well as the large companies.”
The AnswerSuite report found that nearly 80% of oncologists deemed cancer advertising and marketing materials valuable when deciding how to treat patients. More than half – 57% – said they were likely to try a novel product based on what they learned via advertising and promotion.
“That was eye-opening,” said Suzanne Goss, EVP of brand strategy at Synoes Health Communications. “However, when you think about how the goal with advertising and promotion is to consolidate it, summarize it, make it sticky – in a way, maybe it isn’t that surprising that oncologists are willing to change a treatment habit based on something they’ve been exposed to through promotion.”
Just under 40% of oncologists surveyed said that visits from a sales rep sped up the process of prescribing treatments.
One of the report’s key takeaways is that a majority of oncologists said that reps with a solid understanding of the business and practice challenges oncologists face remain quite valuable. That includes concerns around drug prices, reimbursement and insurance.
“Being able to understand and capture that would show an oncologist that you understand them,” Goss said. “Knowing that oncologists will rely on promotion and advertising, it’s important to ensure you’re delivering the clearest, simplest, most differentiating message possible. That sounds like a given in our industry, but it often isn’t. They’re looking to this to help make a treatment decision.”