LaunchTrends: Keytruda (Wave 1) is the first in a series of syndicated reports designed to track physician perception, uptake, and competitive environment regarding the newly launched malignant melanoma drug Keytruda (Merck & Co.’s pembrolizumab).

LaunchTrends: Keytruda measures the impact of this novel agent on the unresectable or metastatic malignant melanoma therapy market following launch, based on a blend of quantitative and qualitative primary research with U.S. medical oncologists. The report evaluates physicians’ current awareness and perception of Keytruda relative to other currently available therapies for unresectable or metastatic malignant melanoma, current and anticipated use of Keytruda, and promotional activity of Keytruda.

Questions Answered:

  • What is the awareness of and familiarity with Keytruda among medical oncologists?
  • What are the perceived clinical advantages and disadvantages of Keytruda compared with other marketed agents used for treating unresectable or metastatic malignant melanoma?
  • To what extent is Keytruda currently being used by surveyed medical oncologists? Where does Keytruda fit in the treatment algorithm? What reasons do nonprescribers give for not having prescribed Keytruda?
  •  What promotional messages are being employed by Merck & Co.?


Market covered: United States.

Primary research: 76 medical oncologists; qualitative interviews with 10 respondents.

Indication coverage: Unresectable or metastatic malignant melanoma.

Table of contents

  • Keytruda Launch Tracking (US) Wave 1
    • Key Findings
      • Awareness and Perceptions of Keytruda
      • Keytruda Trial and Use
      • Competitive Landscape and Merck & Co.'s Promotion
    • Benchmarking Keytruda Launch Success vs. Malignant Melanoma and NSCLC Analogues
    • Prescriber and Nonprescriber Profiles
    • Keytruda Awareness and Perceptions
      • Unaided and Aided Awareness of Keytruda
        • Aided Awareness and Level of Familiarity with Keytruda
        • Awareness of Keytruda's Indication/Setting
        • Awareness of Keytruda's Recommended Dosing Schedule
        • Awareness of Keytruda's Price
        • Unaided Awareness of Drugs for the Treatment of Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma
      • Familiarity with Keytruda
        • Level of Familiarity with Keytruda Data
        • Familiarity with Drugs for the Treatment of Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma
      • Sources of Familiarity with Keytruda
      • Initial Reaction to and Interest in Keytruda
      • Impressions of Keytruda
        • Perception of Keytruda's Risk-Benefit Profile and Uniqueness
        • Perceived Advantages and Disadvantages of Keytruda Compared with Currently Available Treatment Options
    • Keytruda Trial and Use
      • Willingness to Prescribe Keytruda
      • Number of Patients Currently Receiving Keytruda
        • Therapies Used for BRAF-Mutation-Positive Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma Patients
        • Therapies Used for BRAF-Mutation-Negative (Wild Type) Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma Patients
        • Impact of Keytruda on Prescription of Other Agents for BRAF-Mutation-Positive Unresectable or Metastatic Patients
        • Impact of Keytruda on Prescription of Other Agents for BRAF-Mutation-Negative (Wild-Type) Unresectable or Metastatic Patients
        • Off-Label Use of Keytruda
        • Patient Experience with Keytruda
        • Current Treatment of Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma
      • Reasons for Not Yet Prescribing Keytruda
        • Key Reasons to Choose Another Agent Over Keytruda
      • Anticipated Keytruda Use
        • Therapies Most Likely to Be Prescribed to Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma Patients in Different Treatment Scenarios
        • Therapies Most Likely to Be Prescribed Second-Line BRAF-Mutation-Positive Unresectable or Metastatic Melanoma Patients
        • Currently Available Therapies Likely to Be Replaced by Keytruda
        • Willingness to Prescribe Keytruda in Treatment-Naive Patients
        • Likelihood of Prescribing Keytruda in Different Clinical Scenarios
        • Influence of Keytruda's FDA Approval on Prescribing in Other Oncology Indications
        • Patient Inquiries and Requests Regarding Keytruda
        • Expected Prescribing of Keytruda Among Current Nonprescribers
        • Potential Settings for Keytruda
      • Keytruda Performance on Key Attributes
        • Keytruda Attribute Importance and Performance
        • Overall Satisfaction with Keytruda
        • Satisfaction with Keytruda's Efficacy
        • Satisfaction with Keytruda's Safety and Tolerability
        • Competitive Landscape
        • Performance of Keytruda vs. Yervoy
        • Factors Constraining Keytruda's Adoption
    • Effectiveness of Face-to-Face Detailing for Keytruda
      • Keytruda Sales Representative Frequency and Reach
        • Qualitative Quotes
      • Satisfaction with Keytruda Sales Representative
      • Keytruda Message Recall
    • Methodology
      • Primary Market Research Methodology
      • Physician Demographics
    • Appendix
      • Primary Market Research
        • Importance of Attributes in Influencing Prescribing Decisions
        • Performance of Keytruda
      • Additional Information
        • Background, Market News, Methodology, and Objectives
        • Coordination of Keytruda Dosing Schedules
        • Managed Care
        • Case Studies

Author(s): Rachel Webster

Rachel Webster , is a senior director in the oncology and biosimilars team at Decision Resources Group, where she manages a team of analysts in producing syndicated primary and secondary market research reports on a wide range of oncology indications. She also provides sales and client support for all oncology products. Previously, Dr. Webster was a senior analyst in the oncology group at Decision Resources. Dr. Webster has extensive experience in market forecasting with detailed expertise in cancer immunotherapies, prostate cancer, gastric cancer, and malignant melanoma. Dr Webster is also experienced in conducting primary research with physicians and payers in a wide range of oncology indications across the major pharmaceutical markets. Prior to joining Decision Resources Group, Dr. Webster was a research scientist at Immunocore in the target validation group, where her research focused on identifying target antigens expressed in cancers and autoimmune diseases using a proprietary T-cell receptor (TCR) technology platform, molecular biology and phage display techniques. Dr. Webster obtained her , in biochemistry, and (Hons) in biological sciences, from the University of Oxford.

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