a-connect addresses Pharma Stakeholders at the World Pharma Pricing & Market Access Congress 2016


a-connect attended the World Pharma Pricing and Market Access Congress 2016, held in London on 24–25th February. Representing a-connect were Claire Hempshall (P&MA Lead), Zornitsa Petrova (P&MA Director), Aunia Grogan (Global Head of Life Sciences) and Romjan Ali (Independent Professional). The conference was well attended by global industry stakeholders, including payers, pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical consultancies, many of whom visited the a-connect booth. On the first day of the conference, Aunia Grogan presented a paper entitled ‘Establishing and Maintaining Access in an Evolving Environment’.

Summary of Aunia Grogan’s paper

In order to achieve continued growth in a changing environment, the pharmaceutical industry must tackle a number of core questions and challenges.

What are the key challenges the pharma industry is facing?

Over the last decade, we have seen a number of important evolutions in the industry:

  • Market dynamics: increasing importance of emerging markets, increased use of stacked or combination therapies, increased use of generics and biosimilars, shift to personalised medicine.
  • Industry structure: greater regulatory hurdles, increased role of the payer, emergence of risk sharing/patient access schemes.
  • Product mix and provision of care: move from primary to secondary care, focus on orphan indications, focus on new technologies (e.g. gene therapies), standardisation of treatment pathways.
  • New science and technologies: increased capture of patient data, availability of the cloud, proliferation of social media, growth of mobile applications for smartphones.

How is the industry responding?

The end of the blockbuster era has created tremendous pressure on the industry to maximise value from its assets, and this requires a launch model which delivers both speed and quality of execution. The industry is exploring numerous avenues to achieving this: i) enhancing launch planning, ii) implementing launch academies, iii) introducing a project management office (PMO), iv) developing personalised healthcare capabilities, and v) expanding evidence generation (health economics and real-world evidence).

What does this mean for P&MA?

The evolving operating model has had a huge impact on the P&MA team. More is expected of the P&MA team—greater knowledge, increased technical expertise and enhanced business skills—despite there being fewer resources overall and a need to ‘do more for less’.

What do you mean by ‘knowledge’?

The P&MA team are now expected to know about a greater number of emerging markets, all lifecycle stages and funding routes that would not have been explored in the past.

What do you mean by ‘technical expertise’?

The P&MA team must understand complicated science and complex evidence, develop sophisticated argumentation and tools, and create and execute intricate agreements.

What do you mean by ‘business skills’?

The P&MA team needs strong problem-solving and time-management skills and the ability to work within multi-disciplinary teams in order to effectively support the business.

Are we ready to meet these challenges?

The following questions will help you determine whether your team is ready:

  • How well integrated is your P&MA team with other teams across the business?
  • Are you involved early enough in commercial decision making?
  • How effective is the team in influencing internal and external stakeholders? Are you able to ‘manage up’ and effect necessary changes in the organisation?
  • Do you have skills gaps around specific markets, technologies or services?
  • How well equipped are you to deal with spikes in demand?

Key learnings from the conference

There is no end in sight to the pressure on the pharmaceutical industry to justify prices in an environment of constrained public healthcare budgets and a patient- and media-driven backlash against perceived unjustifiably high prices. The industry must communicate value in terms that are understandable and relevant to all stakeholders, regardless of their role and drivers. The challenge is that there continues to be no common approach to assessing and determining the value of drugs. This is unlikely to change in the near future, despite ongoing efforts to develop a consistent approach by the European Network for Health Technology Assessment (EUnetHTA), among others.

Disruptive healthcare technologies (such as ‘cures’) create huge challenges for payers who are constrained by short-term budget pressures. Adaptive pathways and early access schemes mean there is limited evidence on which to assess value. Affordability is a big challenge because there is often a change in payment terms (i.e. costs previously spread over many years are now condensed into weeks or months). In addition, current P&MA systems limit the opportunity to move away from a ‘price per pill’ mind-set—a move that could help improve affordability for payers.


About a-connect, the human resourcefulness enterprise

At a-connect, we help leading global businesses confront the future by increasing the pace and impact of their critical projects. With our unrivalled global network of experienced independent professionals, we create winning teams with the perfect combination of skills, experiences and qualities, to supplement your internal team and to provide you with a consulting service that is more thoughtful, individual, imaginative and enterprising. This is what we call human resourcefulness.

For more information on how our team of Life Sciences and P&MA experts can help you prepare to confront key industry challenges, please email us at info@a-connect.com or visit www.a-connect.com.