The event, ran by Chandler Chicco Companies, was organised to discuss the future of market access communications and the challenges it currently faces.
The event concluded that whether supporting evidence-based patient enrolment initiatives, inputting into payer engagement programmes, or supporting internal alignment behind the market access opportunity, communicators are well placed to add significant value to a company's market access success.
GSK head of global pipelines communications Sarah Mathieson, who was present at the event, said: ‘As communicators, we should be providing help, support and transparent information on our medicines and vaccines to payers, patient groups and healthcare professionals. Market access is about recognising the need to demonstrate real value throughout a product's lifecycle and we are well placed to facilitate early two-way dialogue to ensure patients have access to the medicines and vaccines they need.'
She added: ‘With our expertise in message generation, stakeholder engagement, alignment and consensus building, communicators can, and indeed should, offer so much more than simply pro-active communications.'
Entitled ‘Evidence-based Communication in Market Access', the one-day interactive workshop was hosted by Chandler Chicco Agency and Brandtectonics Access.
‘The challenge for the industry is to demonstrate the true value of their medicines,' said ScHARR dean and chair Professor Ron Akehurst.
He added: ‘Generating relevant data, while an essential first step in the process, is but that. Turning this information into meaningful payer messages at a variety of levels in health systems is critical to success. Communicators have an important role in the consistent delivery of value messages to internal and external stakeholders.'
Michael Sobanja, chief executive of the NHS Alliance, reinforced this point when he argued that a joined-up approach across the marketing mix should underpin any market access strategy. ‘The undisputed leadership of the UK in medicines cost control, and the convergence of these initiatives across countries, requires integrated and consistent communications.'
He added: ‘Too often companies are poorly prepared and fragmented in their approach to payer engagement and this is clearly detrimental to a product's success. With their skills in internal communication, communicators can play a critical role in aligning internal teams behind the access challenge.'
Clinical development was also another topic discussed at the event.
‘The role of communicators in supporting clinical trials is usually restricted to announcing key trial milestones and trial outcomes through the media,' said Neil McGregor-Paterson, MD, Brandtectonics Access.
‘However, communicators can add significantly more value to a company's clinical development programme. Whether supporting the development of engaging patient enrolment materials, educating appropriate patient advocacy groups, building longer-term partnerships so critical for future market access success, or repurposing recruitment materials for future use, communicators' skills remain poorly deployed in this critical stage of drug development,' he added.
Commenting on the outcomes of the meeting GSK's Mathieson said: ‘It is clear that our business continues to undergo significant change. As communicators we recognise there is a need to demonstrate real value and we are continuously evaluating where we can add most value to our access success.'