Many people do not realize just how many considerations pharmaceutical and biotech companies must take to ensure that their products—whether a new prescription drug or a medical device—are available to physicians (and ultimately patients) within the healthcare system. Pricing, of course, is a significant consideration of Market Access. Specifically, the product will eventually need to be reimbursable through insurance or the government after being prescribed to the patient.
This whole system is becoming even more difficult with the introduction of stricter measures for product approvals, thus creating fewer treatment options for clinicians due to new guidelines and regulations. Generic substitutions are becoming more common to increase the affordability of medications and equipment, both to the patient and healthcare facilities. Government agencies and insurance companies are also beginning to shift to a model where they pay for performance. The manufacturer covers the cost if the patient does not show improvement over a certain period.
All of this means that the parties involved with Market Access are changing, which will significantly impact the positions and skills for which pharmaceutical and biotech companies hire. It is more important than ever to develop relationships with hospital managers, patient associations, and even patients. Today, patients have a lot more power than they used to with so much information available around their treatment options, which can lead to extremely demanding individuals, particularly in the face of costly copayments.
Identifying the right stakeholders to engage with—and ensuring that new hires have experience and knowledge of these different areas—is increasingly important as this landscape continues to change. Essentially, Market Access is becoming more “big picture.” Departments like Research and Development, Sales and Marketing, Pricing and Reimbursement, etc., are all intertwined. Successful companies will understand this and introduce the measures to share information better and have a holistic strategy.
When it comes to working with these various stakeholders, it will be even more critical to have a united message surrounding a new product, testing service, or drug. The value proposition presented to the hospital pharmacist should be in alignment with the discussion with the advocacy group. By planning for this in terms of company structure and hiring, pharmaceutical and biotech companies can set themselves up for Market Access success.