A conversation with Gerhard Bothma (Part 2)


We spoke with Gerhard Bothma, Senior Manager, HEMAR and Tender Management, EMEA, for LifeScan to discuss the need for market access to support business success.

Click here to read Part 1 of this conversation.

Last month we discussed the need for market access to support business success. Can you inevitably improve your return on investment if you have the right market access team, the right market access strategies and you are protecting your price and gaining access in a faster time frame?

Absolutely, however in terms of getting fast access with the right products for the right patients at the right price, what we must also remember is that access in itself is not yet money. Once you have access, your job doesn’t stop. It’s at that point that you need to drive the generation of revenue from that access.

Is there a particular phase of the product development when you start developing market access strategies?

There is always an interplay between Strategic Commercial Objectives, Strategic Value Statements and Evidence Generation Strategies to support these Value Statements. These three strategic discussions cannot happen in isolation and emphasis on Strategic Commercial Objectives only can potentially result in suboptimal business success in the mid- to long term. At LifeScan, we are constantly progressing to multi-stakeholder, multi-functional collaboration at a Global, Regional and Local level, trying to minimize the gaps between these three Strategic Discussions. Whilst initial Market Access Strategies can be defined early as part of the product development process, refinement and crystallization thereof is an ongoing process. However, optimization should be achieved by the time “Go – for – Access” plans are commenced.

To what extent do you feel that a collaboration between your market access teams and a value communication specialist is beneficial?

In my opinion, it’s well-accepted that value communication is only as strong as the extent to which it addresses a specific unmet need and that the communication is then put forward within the perspective of the different stakeholders. This makes the collaboration between the centralized office and the local country market access leaders and teams in developing the value communications absolutely crucial. It is through this collaboration and communication that you get to an understanding of the unmet need.

You also get an understanding of the perspectives of different stakeholders, be it patients, physicians or payers. The value communication needs to be aligned with these perspectives, and, very importantly during the validation stage, value communications always need to be validated prior to their implementation.

Validation happens both internally and externally. Value communication development is not a desk job and it is not a stand-alone job. It requires strong collaboration between the centralized office and the country office and, depending on the type of value communication, also between functions.

How do you see the role of external partners in that type of collaboration?

It’s crucial. In market access there will always be a need for outsourcing and that is where partners, like yourself (ValueConnected), are going to play an important role.

One constant challenge of a Market Access Leaders is the lack of resources, both Human and Monetary. Market Access is a highly technical function, that requires certain levels of skill and experience to execute optimally. Also, where standalone Market Access projects budgets do exist, their annual growth tend to be minimal, whilst they often remain the initial target of internal cost reduction strategies.

Market Access Managers have to look for efficiencies, producing a quality outcome at the right time by using the right resources. These resources could be internal, but then, very often, we also have to outsource. Going forward, there will be an ever increasing requirement for external partners to maintain quality whilst being both cost – effective and affordable.

Have you worked with partners that have brought together market access and commercialization?

In my experience, there has always been some level of disconnect. One of the reasons myself and Ernesto, the Managing Director of ValueConnected, have good conversations is because we both understand that market access needs to have impact on business success. In my opinion, the approach of ValueConnected is very pragmatic and you can clearly see that there’s an understanding that access needs to influence commercial success as well.