Both McKinsey (2014) and Deloitte (2022) emphasize that market access strategy and execution – a life sciences company’s ability to demonstrate clinical and economic evidence, negotiate with healthcare access stakeholders, and enable affordable and timely product fulfillment for appropriate patients – are critical to a drug’s success or failure. It all sounds so easy and maybe you’re thinking, “our market access team will take care of it,” but will they? The development of a market access strategy begins with a change in mindset; it isn’t a single person or team’s responsibility, rather, it requires cross-functional collaboration from multiple teams and departments across the company. Here are five additional key ingredients for life sciences companies to ensure a successful market access strategy.
- Early and Ongoing Engagement with Payers
Life sciences companies need to engage with payers early and often to ensure that they understand the product’s value and the unmet needs it addresses. Teams also need to invest time and resources into understanding payer needs and preferences, and then tailor their messages and value propositions to meet those needs. Building relationships with payers can take time, so it’s important to start early and maintain ongoing communication to ensure that payers are informed about the product’s development and value.
- Robust Real-World Evidence
Clinical trials are important, but real-world evidence (RWE) is equally crucial. RWE can demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a product in real-world settings, which is important to payers who want to know how a drug will perform in the real world. RWE can also provide valuable insights into patient preferences, treatment patterns, and outcomes, which can help companies tailor their market access strategies and messaging. Life sciences companies should invest in robust RWE studies to support their market access strategy.
- Patient-Centered Approach
A patient-centered approach means understanding the needs and preferences of patients, the healthcare providers who treat them, as well as the patient advocacy groups who support them. This includes understanding patient populations, treatment pathways, and the patient journey. By taking a patient-centered approach, companies can tailor their messaging to resonate with patients and providers and ensure that their products are accessible and affordable.
- Clear Value Proposition
A clear and compelling value proposition is essential for any product seeking to gain market access. This value proposition should articulate how the product addresses an unmet need, improves patient outcomes, and reduces overall healthcare costs. Additionally, it should be supported by robust clinical and economic evidence that demonstrates the product’s safety, efficacy, and value. A clear value proposition is essential for gaining the attention and interest of payers, providers, and patients and can be used as the foundation for pricing and reimbursement negotiations.
- Cross-functional Collaboration
An effective market access strategy requires cross-functional collaboration across multiple teams and departments within a company. Collaboration between clinical development, commercial, regulatory, pricing, and reimbursement teams is critical to ensuring that the product’s value proposition is aligned with regulatory requirements, payer and provider needs, and patient expectations. It also helps to ensure that the product is launched with a cohesive strategy that considers all aspects of market access, including pricing, reimbursement, distribution, and patient support.
A successful market access strategy involves more than just demonstrating clinical and economic evidence, negotiating with healthcare access stakeholders, and ensuring affordable and timely product fulfillment for appropriate patients. By leveraging five additional key ingredients – early and ongoing engagement with payers, robust real-world evidence, a patient-centered approach, a clear value proposition, and cross-functional collaboration – life sciences companies can improve their chances of launching a product successfully and ensuring that it reaches the patients who need it.