Now that 90% of the top 43 countries for drug sales have instituted “significant” cost containment measures, it’s more important than ever to give payers the rest of the story, according to a Pfizer executive.
“Perception of value drives the willingness to pay, and those perceptions vary from country to country,” said Adam Woodrow, vice president of Pfizer’s specialty care business unit, at a marketing and strategy forum hosted by Simon-Kucher & Partners. “We need to do a much better job communicating value to payers, and that means knowing what turns the payer on,” said Woodrow.
In a global environment where “a simple slip up in one country” can mean losing “half a billion dollars overnight,” – due to the widespread adoption of cross-country reference pricing in Europe, Asia and elsewhere – drug companies need to send a consistent message to stakeholders, said Woodrow. Payers often speak with physicians, for example, when evaluating a product for reimbursement; if sales reps are out saying one thing to doctors, and payers are hearing something else, that disconnect could translate into a less than ideal reimbursement decision.
Patient groups and associations represent another way to boost the perception of value on a given drug, said Woodrow. “Patient groups can be incredibly powerful” in gaining reimbursement, he said, citing the World Federation of Hemophilia as one particularly strong organization. “Hemophilia drugs are reimbursed almost across the board,” due in no small part to governments being pressured by patients, said Woodrow. “We have to be very careful about how we interact with patient groups.”
Woodrow, who jokingly referred to the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as NICER – “No, I Can’t Expect Reimbursement” – said Big Pharma has “failed to communicate value properly, but let’s be real: half the drugs are me-too, so there is no value. We have to begin [the clinical process] with a truly different value proposition” that recognizes the payer’s needs and perception of value, and brings patient advocacy groups on board.
The New York City Life Sciences Marketing & Strategy Forum was held yesterday in Manhattan.