The panorama of access to the pharmaceutical market globally has changed significantly over the past ten years and attracted a lot of attention. This is large because of the healthcare reforms undertaken by governments worldwide to manage their skyrocketing healthcare costs.
The main forces behind pharmaceutical businesses’ commercial success have historically been R&D, sales, and marketing. This conventional market access strategy is relatively linear and focuses solely on price and reimbursement operations, but it also entails interacting with doctors, pharmacists, and regulatory agencies to promote increased product uptake. We define market access, however, as a procedure that guarantees all eligible patients have quick and ongoing access to the product at the proper cost.
Since patients, payers, and advisory groups now play a larger part in medical decision-making, the composition of stakeholders has already recently changed to incorporate them. These modifications have compelled a shift in market access from the conventional price-based strategy to a value-based one. Due to this, pharmaceutical companies now place a greater emphasis on improving market access to succeed. A strong market access strategy that is tailored to the difficulties of a certain market or country is crucial to the success of not only a new product but also the organization as a whole.
Let’s dive into what it would take to obtain pharmaceutical accessibility.
Market Access—Then and Now
The market access scenario has changed over time for two main reasons:
The increasing elderly population, rise in chronic illness prevalence, and increasing expenses of innovative treatments are all contributing to rising healthcare costs: Due to recent improvements and reforms in their healthcare systems, emerging markets behave similarly to industrialised nations like the United States, where the rise in healthcare expenses is a direct result of rising diagnostic and ancillary costs.
The pricing and reimbursement options for new products are being constrained by increased scrutiny of the stated product value by healthcare authorities. Reference pricing and generic product substitutes are two methods that have already been used to increase the affordability of marketed goods.
Over time, a new and varied group of stakeholders have emerged as a result of these two factors. However, this has made it more difficult for patients in general and the market to get drugs.
Emerging Stakeholders in Market Access
Payers are the stakeholders with utmost dominance. They actively contribute to the development of treatment regimens and have an impact on doctors’ prescribing practices. Payers are essential to a new product’s success in the market and will continue to rule the market access situation.
More so than in the past, patients are concerned about the medication’s efficacy and seek a cure in addition to just treatment. In actuality, if there is no reimbursement or only partial coverage, the significance of the drug effect will further increase.
Pharmacies are important players who have the potential to affect drug access by regulating the product’s accessibility in the retail or uninsured market. In situations when reimbursement is given, pharmacies may also have an impact on brand selection by making substitutions.
Government organizations and regulatory bodies are a complex group of stakeholders that are essential in building a framework for pharmaceutical companies to operate in and influencing healthcare policy (e.g., setting pricing and reimbursement guidelines).
The healthcare system’s decision-making environment has grown rather complicated, with entangled ties between diverse stakeholders. By therapeutic area, different stakeholders’ participation in the market access process differs. Understanding the various stakeholders’ needs and interdependencies is essential since it has a significant impact on how effectively market access initiatives will go.
Market Access Scenario in Developed Vs Emerging Markets
Due to greater awareness among regulatory and reimbursement authorities of the need for value above existing treatments, the market access role has progressively grown in relevance in developed economies. Pharmaceutical businesses have started to integrate the market access function within the organization to deal with this dynamic regulatory environment. Only a small number of businesses, meanwhile, presently have a market access team with well-defined roles and duties. As a result, the majority of pharmaceutical companies today take a fragmented approach, with sales, marketing, and regulatory departments each handling a portion of the market access responsibilities.
Market access is still not as well organized in emerging nations as it is in developed markets. The relevance of market access functions has, nevertheless, increased as a result of the shifting economic environment and changing healthcare regulations. Despite this, pharmaceutical companies currently concentrate on certain aspects of market access (pricing, channel, stakeholders, and government agencies), and there is no comprehensive strategy to address all aspects at once. Additionally, compared to developed countries, these markets have more complicated regulatory and healthcare landscapes. Therefore, it can be challenging for pharmaceutical companies to identify the appropriate stakeholders to involve in the medication approval process.
Looking ahead—Improving Market Access in Emerging Markets
To succeed in complex markets, pharmaceutical companies can adopt strategies like—Integrated market reach tactics that start with product development, fostering successful collaboration among diverse corporate functions to foster a culture of teamwork (e.g., sales, marketing, regulatory, etc.), Key account management (KAM) and specialized stakeholder management teams, using a comprehensive stakeholder management strategy, Greater comprehension of the partnership between stakeholders and market access, Communication that is effective with both internal and external stakeholders, Establishing the best procedures, strategies, and, most importantly, personnel.
- Anish Miller