Oncology Market Access USA

Feb 14, 2012 - Feb 15, 2012, Boston, USA

Oncology Market Access USA

Market access: How network intelligence increases value

Paolo Morgese of Merck Serono and Peter Wagner and Maximilian Schwarz of Mederi present 5 tips for matching stakeholders’ value expectations with demonstration of value



The market access function has become a critical success factor in product launches, and its importance continues to increase. The responsibility of the market access function is to develop and implement strategies that demonstrate and communicate the value of products to relevant stakeholder groups. This task has become daunting given the increasing complexity of stakeholders involved in decision-making processes. A key element of success is therefore an improved understanding of stakeholder networks to which the value of a drug is demonstrated and communicated.

A better understanding of external stakeholder networks can also help reduce internal barriers to collaboration among all functions involved in market access activities. Improved understanding of stakeholder networks enables the development of understanding and trust and the reduction of information asymmetry among stakeholders. Here are five tips for enhancing network intelligence:

1. Understand stakeholders’ involvement in market access decisions

While access decisions are becoming more decentralized, it is imperative to know who the relevant stakeholders are and which roles they play in the decision-making process. These roles also need to be observed over time to understand the network dynamics.

2. Understand needs and value propositions for each stakeholder

In addition to knowing the stakeholders, it is imperative to understand their value expectations and how to integrate them into the development program in order to demonstrate value. Typically, regulators focus on safety, efficacy, and quality; payers focus on budget impact, costs, and cost-effectiveness; physicians consider efficacy, safety, compliance, and ease of administration; and patients seek an improvement in health and quality of life. Network analysis is a particularly powerful tool in identifying evidence gaps and topics of interest or concern relevant to these stakeholders.

3. Build trust over time

Demonstrating value during drug development is a time-consuming process and requires a consistent flow of information. Many organizations start their engagement with market access stakeholders too late in the process and are taken by surprise when their value communication is not effective.

4. Match pricing decisions with key stakeholders’ value expectations

Pricing decisions need to align with the value expectations of different stakeholders. Recent performance-based and risk-share deals show that some companies have successfully aligned with the requirements of stakeholders.

5. Adopt a customer-centric communication of value

A customer-centric communication of value demonstrates that stakeholders’ requirements are understood and taken into consideration during drug development.

Some pharmaceutical companies still lag in taking a systematic and integrated approach to mapping stakeholders and leveraging that information when developing engagement strategies. This runs the risk of implementing conflicting engagement activities with the same stakeholders.

Network-based stakeholder engagement overcomes these issues by looking at the decision-making structure and leveraging a better understanding of existing relationships, roles, and the ability to develop new engagement strategies that match value expectations with value demonstration.

An increasing number of leading pharmaceutical companies use structured network intelligence to better understand and engage with the stakeholder community; including:

·      Identifying and segmenting stakeholders, identifying clusters, and analyzing topic-specific expert communities or emerging experts (rising stars) based on their positions in a network

·      Understanding the needs and expectations of medical and non-medical market access stakeholders, engaging with them effectively, and creating win-win situations

·      Engaging with less well-known bridging stakeholders, such as disease experts who are active in different areas (scientific, industry association, patient association, regulatory)

·      Understanding network structures and how they impact engagement strategies; interacting with very few stakeholders in a heavily decentralized network, for example, is not effective. It is therefore imperative to match the selection of stakeholders with the topology of a network. Topology typically refers to two key characteristics: the degree of centrality of a network and the degree of clustering.

Better understanding the external stakeholder network and existing relationships can also help reduce internal information asymmetry among functions within an organization. Responsibilities are defined more effectively across the functions engaging with the relevant stakeholders. Incentives are aligned more easily with these responsibilities.

Functional representatives from clinical development, regulatory affairs, market access, pricing and reimbursement, commercial and others are able to look collectively at a network and define an engagement strategy that matches value expectations with the ability to demonstrate value. Functional representatives then also understand their engagement role within the overall decision-making system and do not attempt to act in isolation with their immediate external stakeholders.

Network intelligence helps to more effectively engage with market access stakeholders and ultimately achieve more effective health outcomes. Understanding network topology is as important as understanding individual stakeholders. Network intelligence is a key element to matching stakeholders’ value expectations with the demonstration of value. Network intelligence also provides a means of sharing information across functions, thereby creating a level playing field with well-defined responsibilities and incentives to collaborate both internally and externally.

Paolo Morgese is associate director of market access at Merck Serono. Peter Wagner is head of consulting and Maximilian Schwarz is a consultant at Mederi.

The views expressed in this article are personal perspectives and do not necessarily reflect those of the authors’ respective employers.

For more on market access, join the sector’s other key players at Oncology Market Access USA on Feb. 14-15, 2012 in Boston, Sales & Marketing Excellence Turkey on Feb. 21-22 in Instanbul, Market Access Mexico on March 28-29 in Mexico City, and Market Access Europe in May of 2012.

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Oncology Market Access USA

Feb 14, 2012 - Feb 15, 2012, Boston, USA

Oncology Market Access USA

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