By Phase II, when drug developers begin to understand their brands' clinical and commercial strengths and weaknesses, companies tend to spend more in line with their drug's commercial prospects or shortcomings.

The better informed an organization is, the better it will be able to spell out strategic options ahead of time and respond more quickly to inevitable changes in the market. Organizations which begin now to evaluate how conducive their operations are to Part D will find themselves best prepared to handle various new target groups and a reinvigorated Medicare marketing message.

We talked with companies that are in the process of setting up dedicated Medicare Part D teams to handle marketing to these customers, as new and unique product messaging will be required.

Mid-size and small companies are already a step behind because they lack the resources needed to build the product value story and to test messaging in their target markets. It also means having a smaller share of voice with their customers.

This report confirms from several vantage points that outsourcing is not necessarily the best option. Agency workers suffer from high turnover and rarely have the benefits of working with drugs over long periods of time or having front-line access to internal company information and employees.