Cutting through the noise: opportunities artificial intelligence presents to market access

The advent of ChatGPT is shining a spotlight on the possibilities of artificial intelligence (AI) across all industries. In the recent past, we witnessed machine learning algorithms primed with historical data turn it into generative outcomes – a method relied upon by ChatGPT as a large language model (LLM).

Beyond creative industries, we have also seen phenomenal innovation in the medical and health sectors due to AI. From fitness tracking apps to leveraging big data for diagnoses, AI is removing manual processes and delivering faster outcomes.

However, in terms of digital transformation, the pharma industry has lagged behind, particularly with regards to adopting new technologies at the same pace as other industries. Market access – being a relatively new and emerging function – has even more catching up to do. 

In the last decade, the role of market access has leapt forward significantly, and is now recognised as a core function within pharmaceutical organisations, playing a pivotal role in medicine launch and overall business success.

Meanwhile, internal digital teams have typically focused on using tech to advance departments such as R&D, medical affairs, commercial and marketing, leaving market access underserved.

The pharmaceutical industry is increasingly warming to the potential of artificial intelligence. Momentum on how AI could be used continues to build. Potential applications start from discovery and development through to clinical trials and, much like other industries, the possibilities are endless.


Extracting key insights from diverse datasets

With the accessibility of tools such as the above-mentioned ChatGPT, we have new avenues for intelligence within market access analysis and decision-making. For example, LLMs can be trained on vast data from market access databases, enabling teams to query them with relevant prompts to extract valuable insights.

Market access professionals often reflect on numerous and complex information from a wide range of data sources, including pricing data, payer research and HTA reports, all of which hold critical information that teams must painstakingly sift through manually. With so much data being captured from different sources, it becomes very difficult to find the most pertinent information that should be considered for evidence-based decision making. LLMs can excel at distilling extensive data sets into simple insights, saving hours of time and unlocking important evidence hiding in plain sight.

Not only can AI be trained to analyse and extract insights from unstructured and often subjective reports, often provided in various foreign languages; AI can also help automate health economic modelling, allowing for faster and more accurate assessments of a drug’s cost-effectiveness. It can also help in simulating different scenarios to assess the impact on market access.

Furthermore, AI can be used to predict launch success. This requires in-depth analysis of historical data, including commercial data, past pricing trends, timeframes for market entry, competitive dynamics, ROI projections and more. AI is ideally placed to analyse the data available, empowering market access specialists to better forecast and model success for their upcoming launches.  

Another consideration is the visualisation of data. As it stands today, custom visualisation of multiple data points is challenging and time-consuming for market access teams, but something that is in high demand by market access leaders and senior executives. The integration of AI into tools like Access Infinity’s NURO solution, streamlines the process, making the generation of charts and personalised visualisations effortless.    

The challenges of using AI in market access

While in theory, there are numerous opportunities to use AI within market access, it is still nascent in its technical journey. We need to overcome the barriers of poor digital maturity to truly leverage AI. It is certainly time for companies to stop relying on legacy methods – like Excel – to make decisions and start exploring the possibilities of more advanced and specialised tools.

Meanwhile, there are various limitations in the data itself, that limit the accuracy of the outputs and continue to create scepticism even among early adopters. Namely, we are still lacking sufficient data – we have around 2,500 brands that have been launched globally since 1995, and ideally, we would need a lot more data to train the models to improve the accuracy of predictions.

Standardisation efforts are ongoing but can be slow to adopt. The data is often stored in various formats and systems, making data analysis complex.

AI in practice

While there’s no doubt that AI can – and will – accelerate decision-making, it’s important not to lose sight of the bigger picture.

Market access is not just a science, wherein a given input, such as evidence, guarantees an output, such as price. It will continue to heavily rely on human intervention, judgement, and experience. Thus, the ‘art’ of Market Access is better served by combining human expertise and AI to ensure success.

We anticipate that AI will become one cog in the machine taking care of routine tasks, so that, there are more resources available to handle complex requirements that need human collaboration and intervention.  

Our best practice tips for beginning your journey towards using AI include the following:

  • Gather the largest sets of high-quality data, including relevant price, HTA, evidence and regulatory approvals to begin connecting the dots.
  • Experiment with multiple avenues and don’t shy away from exploration with a focus on refining prompt engineering and training datasets.
  • Partner with others to make major inroads without losing focus on your brands.

What exposure have you and your team had to AI? And what role do you see it playing for market access in the future?

Access Infinity has made exciting advancements in incorporating AI into our digital solutions. If you’d like to learn more, we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch at hello@accessinfinity.co.


Build or buy? Considerations for market access

As healthcare systems and regulatory landscapes evolve, pharmaceutical companies are facing greater challenges in getting their products to market. Market access professionals continue to play a critical role in navigating these complexities by ensuring timely regulatory approvals, cost-effectiveness evaluations, and securing favourable reimbursement and access agreements with healthcare providers and payers. As such, an increasing number of market access professionals are looking for digital solutions that bring efficiencies and allow them to make data-driven decisions.

However, as the demand for innovative digital strategies rises, a pivotal decision awaits these companies: Should they build an in-house digital application or buy pre-existing solutions from external vendors?

In this article, we delve into the complexities of this decision-making process and explore the key considerations that will empower market access teams to navigate the route towards the most optimal and cutting-edge digital solutions.  Read on to discover the pros and cons of both options and why we believe buying reigns supreme, nearly every time.

When should you BUILD?

Developing custom internal systems can prove advantageous when you want to retain full control over your unique processes and workflows. It is especially advantageous for systems that give a competitive edge or involve sensitive intellectual property. Bespoke home-grown solutions are also a better choice if off-the-shelf solutions seem too generic in comparison, and do not meet your specific needs.

Key considerations for BUILD

Building bespoke internal applications is not straightforward and can be complicated even for well-resourced teams.

1. Are you clear on your requirements?

When it comes to creating a custom application, having well-defined and documented requirements is crucial. Often, IT teams lack expertise in the subject matter and rely on their colleagues from the business side to explain what’s necessary. This means that if the main users (for market access, which includes both global and country teams) don’t actively contribute to shaping the requirements, the final solution may not be optimal. This challenge can be even greater for pharmaceutical companies due to their intricate organisational structure, the involvement of affiliates, and complex reporting hierarchies.

2. Are all your key stakeholders and users ready to commit time?

Consequently, the primary responsibility lies with the core market access team leading the custom application development. They must invest time in defining the requirements, providing clarifications to the IT team during the development phase, and conducting thorough end-user testing before release. Given the typically demanding schedules of market access professionals, this becomes a crucial factor to consider.

3. Have you considered the total cost of ownership?

Building software in-house carries higher development costs, longer timeframes and a risk of errors and defects — which can delay the roll-out. It is never a one-time effort and a one-off cost. There will be a need to commit to an ongoing budget and resources to provide support and take care of enhancements.

4. Have you considered the time it will take before you can start using the application?

Any bespoke application development follows a certain cadence.

It has to start with a detailed requirements elaboration phase so that the high-level requirements are well understood and documented. Starting with designing the user experience which requires intense end-user workshops, development of the application and testing, coupled with tight project management means that the entire process may take 6-12 months to complete. Many times, key personnel involved in the project change, the requirements evolve, and the end application doesn’t get the uptake that was expected.

Plug and Play: Explore the Perks of Purchasing SaaS

Although building software in-house can be a fantastic solution when done correctly — the reality is that for most companies, it’s simply not a practical option as they don’t have the necessary time or resources.

Market access teams in many pharma companies are accelerating their digital transformation by purchasing third-party software, that is then integrated into their existing operations and processes. This is particularly true when purchasing solutions from companies that specialise in market access and have built tailor-made solutions that cater to their needs.

Some unique advantages that SaaS solutions offer include:

  1. Lower total cost of ownership: Purchasing a SaaS solution does not have an upfront cost, and it is much easier to end the contract if businesses decide they no longer need the application. They can also benefit from new features and upgrades, without having to pay for all of them.
  2. Faster roll-out:  You start getting the value from day 1, as there is minimal set-up time involved in a SaaS solution.
  3. Customisation opportunities: Good SaaS platforms allow for many customisation opportunities to tailor to specific internal taxonomy and processes.
  4. Integrate to avoid duplication: Many SaaS platforms allow for integration with other internal and third-party applications. This eliminates duplication of efforts and increases adoption.
  5. Drive standardisation: Rolling out a SaaS solution already used by other leading pharma companies helps businesses stand a better chance of getting buy-in from the users. With an out-of-the-box system, pharmaceutical organisations are able to push through process standardisation and benchmark against some of the best in the industry.
  6. Try before you buy: Questions can be easily answered by gaining trial access, and simultaneously allay any concerns that the users may have.
  7. Long-term value and rate of adoption: Unlike a home-grown system that has been used by a handful of people, a SaaS solution benefits from years of evolution and feedback from clients — so a new client coming on board automatically benefits from having a robust, time-tested solution that already has the seal of approval by other businesses in the industry.

Building bespoke own solutions comes with risks, and adding to the complexity is the dearth of purpose-built SaaS solutions that cater to the digitisation needs of market access. So, it’s better for companies to avoid adopting generic or suboptimal applications. We have seen several market access teams try to build their own solutions and fail. This is particularly true for global launch activity tracking solutions that rely on affiliate teams to input lots of data into a system that isn’t easy to use. As a result, hardly anyone uses these applications, and it costs businesses a lot of money.

Discover our solutions

At Access Infinity, we have years of experience building solutions for market access and pride ourselves on delivering purpose-built platforms for Business Development, Pipeline, Early Assets and Launch teams.

Want to know more? Get in touch with our team, or browse our solutions, here.


What is Analogue Analysis?

It’s no secret that the landscape for market access and pricing professionals is ever-changing. Today the role of the function has evolved to be a critical link between R&D, medical and commercial functions. It’s providing the foundation for clarity in evidence expectations, willingness to pay and market needs, all while communicating and connecting pharma’s other functions.

Within this challenging environment, data-driven decision making is fundamental to overall business success. Enter, analogue analysis – the process of looking at past products’ performance to guide strategy and planning for current and future brands

An “analogue” is essentially a brand in a similar situation to your own. No brand is entirely the same as another, but it can have many of the same characteristics. Analysing these analogue brands can provide critical insight for our own brands, as they have already navigated through similar waters.

Why is analogue analysis beneficial?

When we predict the price and health technology assessment (HTA) outcomes of pharmaceutical brands, we base many of our assumptions on previously approved drugs – otherwise known as analogues. This competitor analysis in the pharmaceutical industry is essential for benchmarking price and informing product launch strategies.

In market access, we have time pressures to answer a range of complex questions. We need to know how to produce more accurate analyses and provide evidence to support a product launch strategy. From TPP profile definition through to price estimation, we need to speed up analysis to present the best business cases for early asset investment decision committees.

Important considerations for analogue analysis

When searching for analogues, we might look at defining characteristics such as:

  • Product and disease characteristics
  • Considerations for the launch environment
  • Broad or specific product launches.

We also need to ask ourselves some key questions. For example, what pricing opportunities are there in a highly genericised landscape? Does our product have an orphan indication? What does differentiation look like in a crowded marketplace? How can we support a trial design acceptable to payers if our comparator is off label?

TPP versus aspiration-led approaches

Analogues are selected using one of two approaches. One involves starting with what you have and using your existing TPP to identify analogues.  Another is more aspirational, defining outcomes you wish to achieve and identifying analogues that achieved those outcomes.

The TPP-led approach

In this approach, analogues are selected based on how well they match to the target product profile (TPP) for the brand. 

This approach works well when the TPP is available, however, it can be long and iterative, as many different TPP variations are introduced.  It is also difficult for market access teams to influence clinical programmes and medical strategies to shape the TPPs. 

Aspirational pricing and market access approach

This approach is based on a target price, and HTA outcomes that are expected to achieve the price. We need evidence to reach the desired HTA outcomes, which we can achieve by reverse engineering the TPP.

This makes it possible to guide research and development teams on trial designs and optimal products, but it may be far from reality. Whatever the findings, adequate risk analysis in the pharmaceutical industry is paramount, so whatever is identified must be robust.

Best practices for analogue analysis

Many teams face challenges, whichever approach is followed.  Analogue identification is frequently restricted by limitations on yours and your team’s knowledge.  Up to eight in ten analogues are selected based on team members’ personal knowledge, rather than being identified in a systematic manner.

At Access Infinity, we have developed Nuro to help you identify analogues, and get the best out of your analogue assessments. We generally advise this approach to get the best results:

Step 1: Define product or disease characteristics

This may include therapy areas, clinical benefits, molecule types, acute or chronic treatments, orphan drug indication, route of administration, and adult or child use.

Step 2: Define the launch environment

This may include size of target population, number of indicated products, availability of price benchmarks, competitor activity and off-label/on-label comparators.

Step 3: Apply criteria comprehensively and systematically

Bearing in mind that the above factors are not exhaustive, we need to take a comprehensive approach. This means starting with all EMA or FDA approved products. We need to be systematic when applying matchability of criteria. This will ensure repeatability, making for better business cases.

Step 4: Create the funnel

With these steps, we can then create our own funnels, for example, filtering out other therapy areas and focusing on auto-immune disorders. But we also need to be aware of the limitations, and draw on our own experience in addition to existing data. Generally, nine in ten analogues start with the disease, but we cannot simply create a funnel in any order.

The future

As pharmaceuticals become more expensive and competitive, we need faster, more reliable methods to benchmark pricing and assist product launches. Technology such as Nuro helps us to see all the essential data in one dashboard, which we can augment with our own experience.

No single method is the ‘correct’ one for getting a product to market effectively, as there are so many variables. What we can do is refine our strategies by looking at historical data and grouping by key characteristics. In future, this will help us satisfy HTA outcomes faster and create competitive price benchmarks.

Find out more about Nuro for analogue analysis here.

You can also hear our Founding Director Shri Rao Mukku talk more about analogue analysis in this webinar recording: https://accessinfinity.com/webinar/analogue-analysis-dos-and-donts/


5 reasons to track market access performance

As the role of the market access function continues to evolve, tracking its performance is becoming more important. Today, market access is the bridge between clinical and commercial functions and plays a pivotal role in launch (and overall business) success.

With market access performance becoming increasingly on the agenda at board and leadership level, understanding why it matters becomes paramount. That’s why we are rounding up our top 5 reasons to track market access performance to help market access teams work smarter, faster, and more efficiently.

1. Understand if we are making improvements:

One of the primary benefits of tracking market access performance is the ability to gauge whether improvements are being made. By using benchmarks such as competitor data or our own historical data, companies can set targets or adjust them in line with changing market conditions and evaluate their progress over time. This enables them to identify areas of success and areas that require further attention. Regular assessment of market access performance ensures that strategies are continuously refined and optimised to achieve better outcomes.

2. Quantify market access success:

Tracking market access performance allows professionals to quantify the value they bring to the business from a price and access perspective. Measurable figures allow market access professionals the chance to showcase their value to wider commercial teams. These figures help tell the story of the business, showcasing the impact of pricing and access strategies on the company’s overall success. This quantitative evidence strengthens their position and highlights the value they bring to the organisation.

3. Make better predictions:

Market dynamics are constantly evolving, making it crucial for businesses to anticipate and plan for the future. By tracking market access performance, companies can build on information from the public domain and their previous pricing or access strategies. This enables them to make more accurate predictions and informed decisions regarding future product launches. Looking both backward and forward allows organisations to learn from past experiences and adapt their strategies to align with changing market conditions.

4. Build institutional knowledge:

Tracking market access performance generates a wealth of data that can be consolidated into an accessible dashboard. This centralised platform ensures that all stakeholders can stay informed and build their institutional knowledge. By leveraging this knowledge, businesses can make informed decisions and seize opportunities while mitigating potential pitfalls.

5. Navigate changing market conditions:

With the volatility of drug pricing, understanding value-based pricing is critical. By continuously tracking market access performance, companies can identify trends and patterns over time. This insight allows them to adapt pricing and access strategies to align with evolving market dynamics. By staying ahead of the curve, businesses can navigate changing market conditions effectively and maintain a competitive edge.

Key takeaways

As we look ahead to the future, it is evident that the trends shaping market access performance will continue to gain momentum, especially with the rapid advancements in technology. By monitoring and evaluating market dynamics, companies can identify areas for improvement, quantify their value, make accurate predictions for the future, build institutional knowledge, and navigate changing market conditions. Through the continuous refinement of market access strategies, businesses can enhance their product launch strategies and ultimately benefit patients, who can get faster access to lifesaving healthcare.

The 5 reasons to track market access performance are also available as an infographic, download below. 

If you want to find out more about market access performance tracking then you can request access to our ultimate guide to tracking performance in market access by filling in the form below.

Learn the true value of Market Access Performance Tracking in our new guide

Download 'The ultimate guide to tracking performance in market access'

The Access Infinity team has just launched a new guide. The ultimate guide to tracking performance in market access offers key insights into the value-led strategies for launching new pharmaceutical products.

Authored by Access Infinity Founder Ahmed Edathodu, the guide takes market access professionals through the KPIs that help them to achieve the best price and broadest access in the shortest possible time. It also draws on testimonials from real customers, including Astellas and Pfizer.

Hear from the faces behind Access Infinity 

Access Infinity’s game-changing learnings, taken from years of working with top-tier pharma companies and interviews with access leaders, paint a clearer picture of market access performance tracking today. We hear from Founder Ahmed Edathodu, as well as Product Owner Thomas Gilboy.

What the guide will cover

The guide will address some of the most pertinent topics in market access performance tracking, including:

  • The state of market access performance today
  • Why measure market access performance
  • Why become a market access performance champion
  • How to measure market access performance
  • Who’s championing market access performance in industry
  • What to do next.

Why measure market access performance

While measuring market access has been on the agenda to some degree, understanding performance is becoming a priority at board and leadership level. So how can market access teams do it better and communicate their success?

Historically, while teams have relied on legacy technology like Microsoft Excel, this does not provide a holistic overview. Our new guide showcases exactly why and how we should measure market access performance – benchmarking our performance against competitors, target dates, industry averages and more. From improving our institutional knowledge to bettering patient care, there has never been a more crucial time to measure market access performance.

Likewise, having a keen eye on both internal and external data gives us competitive advantage. This guide shows market access teams how to leverage information in the public domain, as well as internal figures for future strategic planning.

Download the guide today

The ultimate guide to tracking performance in market access is an essential for market access teams that want to demonstrate commercial success stories. It comes as just one of many free resources from Access Infinity, including an upcoming benchmark report and ‘Market Access Matters’ podcast. You can also find out more in our on-demand webinars.

Gain deeper insights and plan for a more profitable future. Read our free guide today. 

To get a copy of the full guide, complete the form below and we’ll be in touch by email.