PM360 2021 Trailblazer Awards Managed Markets Brand Champion AJ Ahuja

AJ Ahuja, Director, Market Access Strategy and Marketing, ViiV Healthcare

Leading the market access launch for Rukobia, AJ Ahuja knew they needed a truly unique approach to get coverage. Unlike other single-pill HIV treatments now available to help manage the condition, Rukobia is a first-in-class treatment that is approved to be used in combination with other antiretroviral (ARV) medicines to treat HIV-1 in adults who have received several anti-HIV-1 regimens in the past, but have HIV-1 virus that is resistant to many ARV medicines and whose current ARV regimen is failing.

So, AJ and his team wanted to tell those patients’ stories. While that is a common approach when trying to reach other patients or HCPs, it is not typically how companies work to engage with payers. Instead, payers often prefer data and health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), which AJ and his team provided as well. But in this case, payers also needed to know how much Rukobia truly meant to patients and those caring for them.

AJ and his team worked with patient advocates and HCPs to develop white papers, position papers, social media posts, and more to tell the story of what it took to treat this group of patients. They also created a dynamic tool that would help payers quantify the patient population within their health plans and what it would take to treat them. And they developed patient profiles to help payers better identify which patients would benefit the most from this treatment.

It proved to be a clear success that exceeded all expectations with 1.6 million impressions, 14,000 social media engagements, and 90% regional access for patients.

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