It’s not easy to bring a new drug to market. As corporate market access functions evolve to help life science companies streamline the complex process of getting therapies into patients’ hands, the market access consulting landscape is changing, too. In particular, the rise of independent consultants has unlocked faster, more efficient, and more cost-effective ways of supporting projects in health economics, pricing, regulations, patient engagement, communications, and more.
Market access consulting: the independent option
Market access is about removing obstacles. It’s about understanding the patient journey, the payer’s perspective, and the therapeutic and regulatory landscapes—then crafting value propositions and strategies that resonate with each. Thanks to pricing pressures in the U.S. and austerity measures in other markets, these activities are more important than ever to a drug’s success. Many life sciences companies are thus trying to embed market access considerations into the earliest stages of development. But the urgent need for these roles is producing a scarcity of skilled talent.
Traditional consulting firms can fill some of these gaps. But a growing number of market access specialists now work independently, enabling companies to work smarter, faster, and more flexibly throughout the product development cycle. How? By combining both consulting and executive experience, along with deep expertise in niche areas like value proposition development, pricing, and project management.
It’s not uncommon for large consulting firms to offer specialized domain expertise. Independent experts, however, do more than advise—they execute. What’s more, many independents are also former life science executives, giving them an intimate familiarity with what does and doesn’t work at big companies.
Independent life science consultants are also an excellent resource in situations where deadlines are tight and internal resources are spread thin on competing priorities. They can integrate quickly onto your team and focus on driving deliverables. They can also structure engagements in innovative ways to minimize the burden on internal resources, from market access ideation workshops to cross-functional support and training.
Getting past the gatekeepers
Market access is no longer a procedural afterthought. Instead, it’s something that must be embedded into the earliest stages of drug development, so that companies can develop data-driven messages not just about how their therapies address an unmet clinical need, but how they provide value to patients, payers, and healthcare providers. Independent consultants offer targeted help and expertise on the complex array of initiatives that inform market access activities:
- Value proposition strategy and development
- Pricing and reimbursement strategies
- Segment engagement strategies
- Due diligence research
- Pre- and post-launch execution and project management support
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Leah Hoffmann is BTG's Marketing & Content Strategist. A former journalist, Leah worked for Forbes.com and The Economist before joining BTG. She is passionate about clear thinking, sharp writing, and strong points of view.