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Payers: Go compare

Thought Leader: Consumers have lost faith in comparison sites - pharma can avoid the same fate by sticking to some dos and don’ts when building BIMs

In a world where cost containment is top of the agenda, consumers have turned to price comparison sites for a shortcut to the best deal. But how reliable are they? New Which? research shows price comparison sites are failing to impress, with the top 10 sites attaining an average customer satisfaction score of just 42 per cent.

Each site was rated on four criteria: ease of use, range of options available, number of quotes provided and transparency of results. Due to unsatisfactory performance within each category, it would seem that the public has lost confidence in such tools. Is there a lesson to be learnt here for market access?

What do payers need?
Payers around the globe have limited time to evaluate the clinical and financial benefits of the many new and alternative interventions in the market. The need for reliable tools to reduce the leg-work required to make informed budgeting decisions is increasing alongside the need to contain the escalating costs of healthcare.

Pharmaceutical and medical device companies answer this need by producing Budget Impact Models (BIMs). BIMs simulate the financial impact of a new product based on a change in a treatment, usually over a set period of time. These tools are often presented to budget holders by industry representatives and conclude with a customised report detailing the cost illustrations for the local population.

Will payers believe the results?
Users of price comparison websites lost confidence in the results, as some products available on the market were excluded, default assumption values were not the same for all calculations and there was a general 'lack of transparency'.

When building a BIM there are some dos and don'ts that will affect the credibility of the results presented and, therefore, buy-in from the payer audience.

Create a robust and unbiased model. Include all comparator treatments; populate the model with the best available evidence and allow for all assumptions to be customised. Key opinion leaders and advisory boards can add to the integrity of a model by validating the decisions made with regard to assumptions, the treatment pathway and comparator selection.

Likewise, a systematic literature review can add weight to your evidence base.

Avoid 'black box' calculators. Be careful not to overcomplicate your model and clearly present the argument, making clear how calculations are being made. If transparency is lost, or the argument is hard to follow, you will lose your audience, most likely resulting in negative decision-making.

Where to compare?
In the majority of cases, models are presented to payers in what can be perceived as a sales situation. By providing access to the model post-presentation, payers can evaluate a number of scenarios and come to budgeting decisions in a neutral environment. However, manufacturers are reluctant to leave models behind as data can quickly go out-of-date and formulae could potentially be altered. This is where a centrally hosted web-based model could be of benefit.

Over time manufacturers could add to the online resource, eventually covering all of their disease areas. Providing the models are robust and transparent, a resource like this could become the 'go to' place for payer budgeting tools, or, if you prefer, a payer price comparison site!

Article by
David Niziol

is director of Payer communications at Abacus International
david.niziol@abacusint.com

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21st February 2013

From: Sales

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