Women Leaders in Market Access: An interview with AstraZeneca's Ana Plata

April 15th, 2024

As a part of our podcast series, “Women Leaders in Market Access,” we interviewed eight inspiring leaders from the global market access community.

This interview spotlights Ana Plata, Global Access Franchise Head – Respiratory & Immunology at AstraZeneca. Ana specialises in strategic pricing and market access, contributing to the support of pharmaceutical life cycles. In this interview, Ana delves into her diverse career journey, spanning experiences in both industry and consulting.

During our conversation, Ana emphasises the significance of fostering individual growth, the influential connections made with peers, and the valuable role mentors and coaching play in supporting career paths. She acknowledges that career trajectories are seldom linear.

You can access the podcast episode featuring Ana here, or continue reading for the complete Q&A.

Q1: Can you share your career journey, from aeronautical engineering to global pricing head at AstraZeneca?

My journey started with aeronautical engineering, but I found my passion in bioengineering during my PhD at Imperial College, London. After academia, I ventured into consulting at IMS, where 80% of my time was dedicated to pricing and market access projects. Novartis then invited me to join them in Switzerland, focusing on market access launch strategies. After various roles, including leading a team at UCB, I moved to AstraZeneca ago as the Global Pricing Head.

Q2: What led you to specialize in strategic pricing and market access?

During my time at IMS, I realised the significant impact market access projects could have, both within an organisation and for patients. The evolving landscape, especially in the last 10 years, has shifted the focus from regulatory approval to ensuring meaningful evidence collection for payers and sustainable pricing for healthcare systems.

Q3: Your passion for building and managing large teams is evident. Can you share your approach to leadership and why team development is crucial to you?

My belief is that if the team excels, I excel. I take team development seriously, finding it rewarding to watch team members grow and make significant contributions. My approach involves asking, “How can I help you?” and providing the right environment and resources for team members to own their development and growth.

Q4: What makes market access a rewarding industry, and have you faced any barriers or obstacles in your career?

Market access, in my opinion, has one of the greatest impacts on the industry, ensuring patients have access to the drugs produced. Overcoming barriers often involves translating technical knowledge into broader organisational understanding, emphasising the need for effective communication within cross-functional teams.

Q5: Mentors play a crucial role in career development. Can you share your experiences with mentors and their impact on your journey?

I’ve been fortunate to have inspiring mentors at various stages of my career. My first manager in industry taught me a lot about building effective teams. Strong female leaders have also played a pivotal role in helping me balance work and personal life. I encourage others to seek mentors, as connections in this industry are valuable.

Q6: What advice would you give to your younger self at the beginning of your career?

I would advise my younger self to feel free to explore different opportunities. Early in my career, I sometimes questioned if I was wasting time on less conventional paths. However, these experiences outside the typical trajectory have proven enriching, providing valuable insights and connections.

Q7: What does the future hold for market access, and what changes do you anticipate?

I’m passionate about advancing access to medicine in emerging markets. Looking ahead, I foresee a shift in geographic distribution and increased emphasis on emerging markets. Additionally, I believe market access will continue to grow in importance within pharmaceutical companies, playing a vital role in navigating post-pandemic challenges.



For the complete podcast with Ana, click here. Explore other episodes in the Women Leaders in Market Access podcast series here, or find the ‘Market Access Matters’ podcast on all major podcast directories.