Where is UK Market Access Heading?
By: Paul Sutton | October 15, 2014
Last month, I was proud to be part of the eye4pharma Value Added Services Summit in London, which provided a forum for exploring the key issues in today's market access landscape.
Structuring for value
Every stakeholder – from payers and providers, to biopharma and market access specialists like ourselves – clearly understand the importance of value. How they define it is something we've covered in an earlier blog, so instead, I will cover where the effort in market access should be focused.
One of the key ideas that came out of the conference was that biopharma needs to make space for developing value-added services. We heard from a number of companies about the work they have done to develop these kinds of services. It was interesting to hear that they have created a bit of thinking space within the organization to focus on their value-added offer, with the aim of delivering it consistently for their customers. The teams have license to explore and innovate in and are moving towards giving this objective the priority and resources it needs.
To date perhaps it’s no surprise that these teams are still small and relatively limited in budget and may struggle for necessary air-time in their wider organizations. But no matter the resource constraints, what is encouraging is the emerging understanding and appetite in biopharma for this kind of strategy. We believe that value-added services, such as localized market engagement, real world data analytics and outcomes audits, localized pathway modeling and service redesign, are an essential element of UK market access.
Value-added services: tactic or strategy?
At the start of the summit, we were all asked if we thought value-added services were something the industry was doing as a tactic, or whether it was something as fully formed as a strategy. The response was unanimous: it's definitely a strategy.
This response surprised me a little, as from our perspective, we sometimes feel that biopharma don’t treat value added services as part of a five or six year commercial strategy pre-launch. We believe that value-added services should be developed much earlier in the commercialization process to inform decisions making such as - What outcome measures should be used to judge success? What support will payers and providers need to have the confidence to use a particular product to achieve those outcomes? And how will a company plan to capture relevant data to prove those outcome measures have been achieved?
Balancing the niche with the holistic
One word that echoed around the conference was 'collaboration'. Attendees were quick to admit that better partnership working was needed if improvements were to be made across the entire healthcare system.
For market access, that raises an important question: how do we align niche biopharma products with the overall drive to sustain the NHS as a whole? For true collaboration, we need a way to tackle the inherent contradiction of biopharma offering drugs and services that are aimed at, for example, only five per cent of the COPD population, while the NHS (it’s time, effort and budgets) is understandably focused on the entire COPD pathway.
Put simply, it’s important to identify where NHS stakeholders are going to prioritize collaboration efforts in a system that is faced with budget impact pressures that go beyond whether a drug is good value for money.
To find out more about integrating outcomes audits into effective market access strategy – and specifically how the data they gather can be used to redesign care pathways to maximize commercial and clinical success – download the Quintiles white paper "The power of the outcomes audit: harnessing the vital data to inform an optimal UK market access strategy".
This post is the third in an ongoing series on UK market access: