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Sabina Syed: If I could change one thing…

The managing director of Visions4Health explains what she would improve about the industry
if I could change one thing

I would challenge pharma to move beyond reiterating product benefits to customers. Ideally customers, (particularly payers), want to see a 'Value Assurance Package' which is a step beyond the traditional value proposition.

This is because buying decisions can be summarised in five stages: need recognition; information search; evaluation of alternatives; purchase and post purchase evaluation.

Traditionally, value proposition development and articulation focuses on the first four elements of the pharma buying process, where the 'purchase' decision can be summarised as either a formulary decision or the actual generation of a prescription. The fifth stage is the post-purchase evaluation of the customer.

Commonly customers experience concerns after making a purchase decision; they may feel that an alternative would have been preferable or potential benefits promised have not been realised in practice. In such circumstances a prescribing customer will not repurchase immediately, but is likely to switch brands next time. The implications for payers can be more significant. At best questioning the true value of a particular intervention or at worst the integrity/trust of the organisation delivering the value proposition.

Value assurance requires careful planning that integrates product value with a blend of pre and post support services and a high-quality implementation plan with pre-determined compliance measures. Only when all these components are integrated, health outcomes can be realised for patients.

To ensure joint accountability, the value assurance package should be created by pharma, payers and clinicians. How can this be achieved?

  • Mapping the “value points” of your key customers in accordance to the patient pathway
  • Understand how the value points can be linked with incentives in the healthcare system
  • Challenge marketing spend and question if you're allocating the right investment on customer insight generation
  • Identification of additional support or value added services that are needed by customers
  • Develop integrated customer-marketing plans. Often payer, prescriber and patient plans are not integrated.

In fact overlaps between customers will need to have separate communications plan to ensure value assurance

  • Organisational capability:  the value assurance package will be realised if you have the right internal capabilities to work with customers coupled with an optimal level of staff autonomy and authority.

Achieving excellence in value assurance, will ensure value is realised for all concerned.

Sabina Syed, Visions4Health
The Author
Sabina Syed
, Managing Director, Visions4Health. To discuss how you could develop your value assurance package.
Contact sabina@visions4health.com

24th July 2012

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