Expert-led market access strategy

Expert-led market access strategy

In order to support effective decision making and deliver sustained returns in a complex, dynamic healthcare environment, pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies need an expert-led market access strategy that considers the changing nature of the real-life marketplace. These strategies should not only focus on achieving the commercial objectives for a product but also enable it to outperform competitors throughout the product life cycle.

Market access strategies have evolved over the years. Initially, the goal was to gain a positive recommendation from health technology assessment (HTA) submissions. Today, the aim is to create a multi-faceted approach with cross functional teams to sustain pricing, reimbursement and patient access in the long term.

We outline four key characteristics:

#1. A strategy that leverages key activities throughout the product lifecycle

The expectations from an expert-led market access strategy is no longer limited to HTA submissions and field teams trying to drive commercial uplift—they must be set up to sustain market access.

Today, market access should begin early in Phase 2, with a focus on a number of aspects in each country:

  • A thorough understanding of the environment, from health policy to patient.
  • Execution of forecasting models.
  • In-depth market research and gap analysis.
  • Real world evidence generation.
  • Launch sequencing.
  • Impact assessment of pricing and reimbursement pathways and strategies in each country.

Value added services and stakeholder and influencer management, balanced with strong negotiation and tender skills, are ever more important to navigate the many hurdles at country level throughout the product life cycle. Market access teams therefore need to identify key lifecycle activities and understand when to implement them early in the product life cycle.

#2. Market access is treated as a core strategy

Market access is vital to launch excellence and commercial success, and companies that fail to recognise this will fall behind. Patient access strategies have become a core component to the overall business strategy.

A successfully designed expert-led market access strategy springs from collaboration between market access teams and other functions such as clinical development, medical affairs, commercial, marketing, public affairs and regulatory and legal departments. The market access function is often seen as the driver of a cross functional team, helping to align the team’s skill sets to achieve commercial success.

#3. A relevant and agile strategy is based on understanding of market dynamics

Creating a market access strategy requires an understanding of what is in the head of the various stakeholders – the payers, physicians and patients organisations – and a knowledge of the drivers behind their choices and behaviours. Here, systems thinking becomes critical.

Expert-made strategies, based on systems thinking and market dynamic simulations, are agile and flexible, and are designed to represent market dynamics, leveraging marketplace patient flow and competitive intelligence by indication, country and distribution channel. This design means that they can offer a solid understanding of what causes current performance and confidence in future planning for market access and pricing.

#4. Integrated from global, regional, and down to the local level

One of the greatest pitfalls of market access strategies is a misalignment between global strategy and local implementation. Strategies only succeed when the team understands the needs of the regional and local stakeholders and delivers the core value message in the right context and language at the appropriate time. The life cycle goals should be aligned with the needs of the key customers.

Global market access success is not defined by entering every local market, but by applying the right strategy with the right markets at the correct time and in the correct sequence.

In summary, market access strategies should be developed at an early stage and integrated with commercial and development strategies. But perhaps most importantly, they should have the ultimate customers in mind throughout the product life cycle.

To learn more about how we support in developing pharma market access strategies including use of systems thinking and market dynamic simulations, call us at +44(0) 203-750-9833 or email us at

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Steve Bradshaw

Steve Bradshaw is Managing Director of Valid Insight. He has nearly two decades’ experience in life science consulting and healthcare. He is experienced in developing successful value-based market access strategies and solutions, including the implementation and use of real-world studies.

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