Amgen plots D-mab launch with fewer reps

Was Amgen CEO Kevin Sharer (photo) a Boy Scout? The company certainly obeys the old Scout motto. It's already preparing for the launch of denosumab, the potential blockbuster bone drug, even though the med hasn't made its way through the FDA yet.

If denosumab is given the nod as expected, Amgen will be marketing to primary care doctors, the most likely prescribers of a drug primarily aimed at post-menopausal women with osteoporosis. And denosumab will be up against some competition, including generic meds. So Amgen will need to really connect with those physicians and get the pro-denosumab message across.

But according to the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, Amgen market research has found that 25 percent of primary care docs write 85 percent of the scrips for bone-strengthening meds in the U.S.. So rather than "carpet bombing" the American primary care field with denosumab reps, the company figures it can target those 25 percent with a sales force of 500 to 1,000.

Plus, the company plans to leverage the internet to boost the drug's sales. No details forthcoming yet, but Amgen plans to take a page from President-elect Barack Obama's playbook: relying on "sophisticated use" of the web to deliver its marketing message.

ALSO: Amgen's top management touted the company's strategy and pipeline at a meeting of Amgen securities analysts and investors in New York City. Report

- read the Health Blog post