What is market access, why is it so important, and how can pharmaceutical consulting help?
Market access has attracted a great amount of attention worldwide and there are questions over how market access is impacting the direction of medical affairs. As countries try to contain escalating healthcare costs and governments adopt stricter measures with respect to new product approval, market access issues are becoming increasingly discussed. But what exactly is market access, why is it impacting patients and how can healthcare consultants help?
Market access, sometimes known as the fourth hurdle in pharmaceuticals, is a phrase used in pharmacoeconomics to describe the process through which a company gets a drug to market and makes it available to patients. The aim of market access is to make sure all patients who need a drug are able to obtain it at the right price. It is also about communication and getting across the value of a given product to customers who influence uptake.
Ease of patient access can be determined by:
– Location of healthcare facilities
– The medical services’ acceptability of the patient
– Cost of care
According to one source, market access is an increasingly critical issue for the following reasons:
– Patients are in need of effective medication, but take issue with escalating healthcare costs
– The pharmaceutical industry is increasingly aware of the importance of clearly communicating the value and relevance of new products to healthcare stakeholders
– As a result of increasing healthcare costs and advance in drug therapy, payers and prescribers are driven to control new product endorsement and ensure the most efficient use
– Payers have been looking into new methods of controlling drug costs (through managed entry agreements, volume limits, evidence-based pricing, etc.)
Another study argues that market access has changed considerably due to two factors:
– There are a growing number of chronic diseases, an ageing population and an increase in the price of new therapies
– There is increased scrutiny by healthcare authorities in relation to product value, which restricts pricing and reimbursement for new products
As the years go by, patients have access to more information and are therefore more knowledgeable when it comes to treatments and drugs. They are therefore more inclined to demand justification for the cost of a drug. On top of this, patients are increasingly concerned with drug effectiveness. Rather than simply seeking treatment, they are looking for a cure.
Below are a few global market access statistics for consideration:
– According to a report released by the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP), three-quarters of the world’s population have no access to pain-relieving drugs. This includes individuals suffering from acute/chronic pain or those in the late stages of cancer
– Every year, 13 million children under the age of five die from preventable or treatable illnesses. This is particularly an issue for developing countries
– Market access issues are concentrated strongly in Africa and India
– Half of the world’s population has no access to healthcare
– There is an ongoing initiative involving all stakeholders in Europe to try to ensure that data generated in clinical trials satisfies the reimbursement agencies, such as The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), in addition to the regulators. Historically, this hasn’t gone well
– Companies usually have “compassionate access schemes” for patients that need access to a drug before it is registered, if their doctor makes a good case for it, or if they were in a clinical trial
As an experienced healthcare market access consulting company, at phamax, we can identify barriers and opportunities for patient access to care and identify stakeholders who can influence these drivers and barriers. We can then generate local evidence to support disease management, awareness, advocacy, enablers and best practices. From this, we will provide recommendations to overcome barriers. The outcome is long-term engagement with key stakeholders while positioning you as a credible scientific partner to decision makers. We will analyze the current market conditions and provide a best-fit market access strategy.