HOW CAN PHARMA COMPANIES HOW VALUE?

In today’s highly competitive healthcare market how can pharma companies stand out from the crowd? David Southern, Managing Director of market access specialists Spirit Access, explains why showing brand value has never been more important for pharma companies and provides insight as to how this might be achieved.



Communicating the value of your device or product to a cash strapped NHS can mean the difference between good and great performance.  The NHS is in trouble and we don’t need to look very far to find the next worrying story. 

“traditional models of selling no longer work”

The way that pharma accesses the NHS is changing and traditional models of selling will will no longer work.  It has never been more important for pharma to be able to demonstrate the real value of their offering.

“many stakeholders involved”

Decisions are no longer made by individual prescribers, now there are many stakeholders involved so it is harder to ensure that the key messages reach your audiences.  The acquisition cost is still important, but it almost certainly does not represent the true value of your product or device.

You know that your product or device will help patients get better or achieve a better quality of life and you know that when patients are treated well it will save NHS resources. You may well have had a positive NICE or SMC review yet still, your NHS customers have difficulty in finding time to implement the changes that will help them realise the full benefits of your product or device.

“difficulty finding time to implement changes”

According to the Office for National Statistics the NHS has a managerial workforce that is one-third the size of that across the UK economy as a whole.  NHS managers simply don’t have time to pick through the vast amounts of data that are available, analyse it and explore the impact of efficiencies.  This presents an opportunity for pharma companies to become integral to the commissioning process, developing meaningful relationships with their customers supplying the information the NHS needs to commission services.

“an opportunity for pharma”

The challenge for any supplier to the NHS is to show the true value of their product or device in a way that can be readily understood and accepted by their NHS customers.  There are three key elements you require to achieve this.

"First - a firm grasp on the numbers"

How many patients are there and how much do they cost?  What are the most important issues facing your customers?  Is it the volume of activity?  Is it the length of stay?  Is it the rate or readmissions or mortality rate?  Can this information be combined with other data sets to give new insight and facilitate decision making?

"Second - understand the flow of patients – the patient pathway"

The patient pathway is a record of a patient’s journey through the NHS.  It establishes what resources are consumed, in terms of time, human resources and physical resources (equipment and room usage, costs, revenue etc.).  A patient pathway is not a clinical guideline which is an ideal treatment protocol based on the best medical evidence, but a picture of reality.  When commissioning a new service it is the fine detail of the patient pathway that leads to success.  If we truly understand the patient pathway then we can identify the value points or those parts of the pathway that can be changed or improved to create value for the patient, the NHS and the pharma industry.  It enables a pharma company to consider the impact of their product not just at the point of intervention but throughout the whole patient’s journey.

"Third - help the NHS implement the changes"

Each of these elements are essential in delivering the full value of your product or service for the benefit of patients, the NHS, and your organisation.

To find out more about how we use this approach to help our pharma clients show the value of their brands to their NHS customers, please contact us on 


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