Over the last decade or so, market access has become the buzzword in the pharmaceutical industry and has come to define the long-term success of the industry. To put it simply, market access is now all about packaging the right data in the right way, for the right customer, and at the right time. The meaning of market access has become even more important in these difficult times when healthcare budgets are being squeezed in most developed economies and there is growing consensus to curtail costs while achieving better healthcare outcomes.

It is becoming more and more complex to formulate a successful market access strategy; a one-size-fits-all model doesn’t work anymore. In today’s market access environment, payers have an increased power in healthcare decisions. They scrutinize drugs on the basis of health technology assessments (HTAs) which lead to strong requirements of cost effectiveness in addition to safety, efficacy and quality.

Below we highlight two most important challenges in market access:

  1. Stakeholder Segmentation and Mapping – With the rise of payers as one of the most important decision makers in market access, it has become extremely critical to evaluate and assess their positioning in the market access value chain, understand their opinions and drivers of operating in the market environment. However, this is easier said than done as payers itself are incredibly diverse (from region to region) and can often have differing objectives or priorities, even while operating under same market conditions. At the same time, companies should not ignore other stakeholders such as prescribers and patients, because the traditional boundaries of payers and other stakeholders in getting increasingly blurred – UK healthcare system being the classic case in question. Targeted stakeholder mapping holds the key towards unlocking value and engagement in these settings.


  1. Product Differentiation – There is a growing consensus amongst all stakeholders that a new pharmaceutical product should not only be superior in innovation but must also be backed by economic value evidence. Additionally, many stakeholders also acknowledge that pharmaceutical companies must also offer value added services with the product such as adherence services which confirms compliance to therapy and leads to better outcomes. It is important that in order to secure access, pharmaceutical companies must start building the economic and clinical case supported by insightful body of evidence in tandem, while the product is in earlier stages of development.


Looking at the above two most important challenges, it becomes extremely critical that pharmaceutical companies re-think their business model together with culture and processes involved in developing and bringing a product to market. High failure rates of product launches are only the tip of the iceberg and there needs to be wider fundamental shift in the way in which pharmaceutical industry creates value and engages with other stakeholders. On the bright side, there are tremendous opportunities coming into horizon and changes in business model driven by insights will create sustainable future for the industry.

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