Not only is Market Access important, it also requires a new cross-functional approach

By Dr. Nick Proctor, expert-trainer of the Understanding Pharma Market Access & Payers in Europe and Understanding Pharma Market Access in the US courses.

Market Access remains one of the pharma industry’s greatest challenges. Universally acknowledged as a critical part of brand planning and commercial success, it is still often ill-defined and the “payer” customer group remains the most poorly understood.

To fully grasp the direction of change, it is important to understand how market access has become important:


  • The increasing cost of providing healthcare and the advances in drug therapy are driving payers and prescribers to control new product endorsement and ensure the most efficient use.
  • Payers are devising new methods to control costs through managed entry agreements, evidence-based pricing, volume limits, etc.
  • Patient demand also has to be factored into the equation both in terms of need for effective medication and, in the future, willingness to pay.
  • The pharmaceutical industry has woken up to the need to respond to market access and ensure that the value of new products is clearly explained in terms that are relevant to the healthcare stakeholders.
Access Decision Making

These changes mean that market access strategy needs to be built into the launch plans of all new products and needs to be built early into development. Therefore, a new cross-functional approach with important organisational implications for pharma companies is required:


  • The importance of Market Access means that internal teams have to develop new techniques and skills to understand the needs and drivers of the different access stakeholders in the country markets.
  • Since the market access environment is constantly developing and changing, a focus on actively learning about changes in stakeholders' needs has now become a crucial part of the product management through the product lifecycle.
  • Pharmaceutical companies are based on deep understanding of expertise areas, which have sometimes worked in the past in an isolated fashion. Market Access, however, requires a multi-faceted approach.
  • Research departments have to think beyond technical clinical performance, they must think about the stakeholders’ willingness to pay in the outside market.
  • Marketing departments have to develop a detailed understanding of the cost impact and benefits of new products within country systems.
    Regional offices and local country affiliates have to work closely together.
  • Not only do all parties have to work together but they also have to develop an agreed terminology, approaches and working procedures to ensure a consistent take on market access.

Defining the terminology, agreeing on the approach and cross-functional working within a pharmaceutical company are crucial for world class market access strategies.

Market Access success cannot be the sole domain of Pricing & Reimbursement or Health Economics & Outcomes Research, or even Global Market Access.  Only a fully integrated organisation can implement the processes, techniques and strategy required to get the right messages to the right stakeholders at the right time.



Learn more about this topic at the following short duration course(s):



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