If you'd like to find out more about the current Market Access opportunities we have, or just want to know what options may be available for you within the sector, get in touch with our specialist consultant Emily Shaw at 01625 361076 or send her a message via email@example.com
Within the healthcare sector, Market Access is the complex and protracted process that Pharma and biotech companies have to go through in order to ensure that their medicines are made available in as many countries as possible while ensuring these medicines are reimbursed and made available to the patients who need them.
You’ll also hear phrases such as ‘Pricing and Reimbursement’ (P&R), ‘Health Economics and Outcomes Research' (HEOR) and ‘Payer (or Payor) Research’, and ‘Cost Effectiveness’. Market Access is the broad term that encompasses all of these things.
Market Access has become increasingly important over the last 5 to 10 years as more high-tech and expensive drugs have come to market, while at the same time there have been enormous pressures on governments and/or healthcare systems to cover the costs of their drug bills. A good example is the UK market, where the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) plays a pivotal role in deciding whether or not new treatments are cost-effective.
In order to have their products reimbursed by the NHS at the best price possible, Pharma and Biotech companies now have to work very hard, gathering lots of data around the health economic impact and cost-effectiveness of their products, while presenting these reams of data to NICE in as convincing a form as possible. In order to help them do this, they will commission a specialist Market Access consultancy to walk them through the process and to achieve the best results possible.
Market Access Manager/Director: Market Access managers/Directors are responsible for developing and implementing strategies to optimise the market access of pharmaceutical products. They work with cross-functional teams, including sales, marketing, medical affairs, and regulatory affairs, to ensure that products meet the requirements of various healthcare systems and payer organisations.
Health Economics and Outcomes Research (HEOR) Specialist: HEOR specialists conduct economic evaluations and Health Outcomes research to demonstrate the value of pharmaceutical products. They analyse real-world data, conduct cost-effectiveness analyses, and generate evidence to support product reimbursement and pricing decisions.
Pricing and Reimbursement Specialist: Pricing and reimbursement specialists analyse market dynamics and competitor pricing to determine the most appropriate pricing strategy for pharmaceutical products. They also negotiate with payers and government agencies to secure favourable reimbursement terms.
Government Affairs/Policy Specialist: Government affairs and policy specialists work to influence healthcare policies and regulations that impact the market access of pharmaceutical products. They engage with policymakers, advocacy groups, and industry associations to advocate for policies that support patient access to medicines.
Patient Access Manager: Patient access managers focus on improving patient access to pharmaceutical products by collaborating with patient assistance programs, charitable organisations, and other stakeholders. They ensure that patients can obtain necessary treatments despite financial constraints or insurance limitations.
Market Access Consultant: Market Access consultants provide strategic advice and support to pharmaceutical companies on navigating the complexities of market access. They may work for consulting firms or as independent contractors, helping companies develop effective market access strategies.
Value and Access Lead: Value and access leads oversee the development and execution of product value strategies, including evidence generation, pricing, and reimbursement activities. They ensure that products are positioned competitively in the market while maintaining a focus on patient needs.
A career in Pharma Market Access requires a deep understanding of healthcare systems, payer dynamics, health economics, and pricing strategies. Professionals in this field must keep abreast of evolving healthcare policies and market trends. Strong analytical skills, communication abilities, and the capacity to collaborate with diverse stakeholders are essential for success in this area.
Educational backgrounds in life sciences, health economics, business, or public health are commonly sought after in Pharma market access careers. Many professionals also pursue advanced degrees or certifications in health economics, health policy, or market access to enhance their expertise and career prospects.
Starting out your career within Market Access, an entry-level role will most often be with one of the specialist Market Access consultancies as a Research or Business Analyst, moving up to a Senior Analyst and then onto Consultant level. In the more junior roles, your time will be split between the following – about a third of your time will be spent arranging interviews with key opinion leaders (KOLs) Payers (the guys that hold the purse strings and ultimately decide whether or not to reimburse products and at what level). Almost half of your time will be spent on desk research, conducting interviews, helping with analysis, and developing presentations. The rest of your time will be spent on client liaison and project management.
As you climb the career ladder you’ll become less involved in the nitty-gritty day-to-day aspects of managing the projects and more involved in client liaison, business development, proposal writing, pitching for new business, and advising on Market Access strategy. Client-side or industry roles also exist within Market Access, but these tend to be reserved for people with a good number of years’ experience under their belt, which will most likely be gained on the agency side.
As well as the Project Managers, there are also opportunities for writers who would be responsible for developing value dossiers and compiling other forms of report and documentation which essentially will be used to support submissions to bodies like NICE. For this, you would need a strong science-based degree, preferably a PhD and you’ll need to provide evidence of strong writing skills ideally with some previous experience either within Market Access or the Medical Communications sector.
Like all sectors within Pharma, Market Access can offer a lucrative career with companies paying good basic salaries and offering attractive benefit packages with genuine opportunities to learn and climb the career ladder. The work is fast-paced and at times demanding but can also be highly rewarding, Our clients within Market Access look for people with a strong academic background who have a passion for working in this sector. They’re looking for good communicators, strong project managers, and people who can work effectively under pressure, juggling several projects at any one time and working with pace and urgency.
Find out more about how to progress your career within Market Access here.