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Three questions to ask about your market access partner

By AmerisourceBergen

Does your vendor understand the nuances of the international go-to-market chess game?


As a biopharma company preparing to launch a product in new, international markets, you likely turn to your market access partner for help. Do you have a complete picture of what your vendor(s) actually bring to the table? 

Ask yourself: Do my current vendors think strategically around this concept of “glocal?" 

The concept of think global, act local is foundational to any market access work. As Chelsey Campbell, Director, Scientific Consulting at AmerisourceBergen, explains, it's the equivalent of setting off on a trip without directions to your destination. Without this mindset, there's truly nowhere to go. 

Does your partner encompass both global reach across the pharmaceutical continuum and local expertise in the specific countries where we want to introduce our new product? Your commercialization partner needs a thorough understanding of the nuances of each market. Can they tell you what you should prioritize to get access and reimbursement in your key markets? 

International markets are individualistic when it comes to access and reimbursement processes. Does your commercialization partner assist you in harmonizing your evidence generation plan to align with the specific needs within key markets that you're trying to reach? If not, it might be time to rethink who you work with. 

One key element to look for is connection. Are you working with a market access partner who deploys separate global and local teams, or maybe only has one and not the other? Does that put the burden on you to put disparate pieces into a cohesive whole? A commercialization partner that brings all these elements together makes going to market simpler, because you don't have to independently oversee the different and complicated segments. 

A complete global market access partner should un-complicate the process. Working from the beginning with an organization that brings all the “glocal" solutions you need, versus choosing a different vendor for each piece, means one less thing to think about. Trust that a single vendor, especially one with proven expertise is each step of the process, can be proficient across the board. You have enough on your plate already trying to manage your team and your portfolio; let a partner help you get though the pieces that are stressful to consider. 

Ask yourself: Does my partner understand where my product sits in the market? 

A successful partner needs to understand the particulars of your product to provide strategic go-to-market advice. There are critical differences between entering a saturated market in a particular therapeutic area versus proving significant improvement on the current standard of care. A partner needs to consider existing treatments for the disease, knowing that innovation alone is not a sure route to reimbursement. In global markets, simply introducing a product in a new class does not guarantee reimbursement at a higher rate. What patient unmet needs does the therapy fulfill and how that be appropriately demonstrated? 

Some of these questions are more complicated than they appear at first glance. What to do, for example, if the product is initially developed for a specific disease but evidence shows it actually targets a disease process? Maybe it targets a genetic aberration and could be used across multiple tumor types. Suddenly, you're not trying to bring to market a specific cancer therapy; it's so much broader. 
“There are so many different dimensions. You're playing 3D chess," explains Campbell. A global market access partner needs to understand there will be times where evidence is not easily demonstrated because you're dealing with small, varied patient populations or tackling a disease state where patient-relevant benefit is hard to show. There are so many facets of each product's situation to consider; it's strategic, complex, and complicated. 

The right market access partner will think innovatively about evidence generation. They will consider how to meet the needs of HTA evaluators when the standard evidence design is insufficient. A vendor must understand the latest guidance and methods, and be able to gut-check their hypothesis with local authorities. They must understand the end game. 

Ask yourself: Will my partner help communicate key value after market authorization? Or do I need to engage with another vendor? 

A global access partner needs the expertise to translate studies into the “so what" local authorities need to know. Their understanding of payer requirements across key markets helps them plan ahead and develop appropriate evidence from the beginning. As Campbell put it, it's about asking and answering the right questions at the right time for your particular product and access goals. 

The right partner will move beyond talk and into action. They will work with you not just to develop a global market access strategy, but they will share ideas on how to activate it. “You need a partner that can do both if you want to succeed," says Campbell. As you work with your partner, you should clearly understand each successive step in the process and the actions to take. 

A global market access partner must comprehend and respect your goals for each product and each market. Forming a commercialization plan isn't the goal, seeing it fully-formed and realized is. The right partner should see your vision for each therapy within your franchise and create the best possible organization to meet your needs. 

Ready to work with a partner who sees the whole chess board? 

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