Recently the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence chose not to live up to it's abbreviated moniker (NICE) when considering reimbursement for two new agents eagerly anticipated by both physicians and patients alike. Both agents are hailed as providing meaningful benefits to patients that go beyond just clinical efficacy in their therapy areas, Multiple Sclerosis and Metastatic Breast Cancer. (In the interests of neutrality I will not mention the products by name here!)
These products both secured European regulatory approval and have launched in other European markets. So, drugs launching in the UK seem to need more precise, more meaningful and more compelling evidence to secure reimbursement........oh yes....they also need to be dirt cheap!
With a raft of changes and reforms impacting the NHS, its structure and funding, including the introduction of GP consortia and the QIPP programme tasked with saving £20 Bn by 2014; are the barriers to market in the UK getting higher, more confused and less penetrable? What does this actually mean for pharmaceutical companies and brand teams looking to launch their value adding novel agent? How can brand and market access teams engage in a meaningful way with the right stakeholders in the right way?
These are all questions we have been thinking about here at Branding Science and identified some key areas of understanding that will benefit our Pharma clients.
Determining who the new stakeholders will be both during and after these reforms will enable brand teams to engage effectively and help leverage commissioning priorities in their favour.
Understanding how these reforms are interpreted by the different stakeholders and their potential impact on day-to-day practices will help anticipate the changes that will happen. This process will provide critical insights on the evolution brands have to achieve to resonate in their new environment.
Identifying the real life, underlying priorities of these reforms will enable our clients to focus their brand communications to areas of greatest importance. Eg. If the focus is cost, brands may need to communicate a strong value proposition. If the focus is innovation, client brands may need to show advancement and novelty against current services. Should the focus be the patient, then communicating meaningful patient outcomes and quality of life improvements will be key.
The point is that in a changing environment, it is important for everyone to understand what the reforms mean in real terms – and brand teams in particular have certainly a lot to gain by starting this process early! We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject and likewise, work together to find the answers!The author: Joe Gadilhe is Senior Research Executive at Branding Science. With experience across therapy areas, he has managed research projects exploring the views and opinions of payers and physicians in the UK and abroad.