Creating a successful and productive partnership

Strategic partnerships are a vital part of the healthcare industry, allowing companies to be greater than the sum of their parts and have a larger impact on patient outcomes and healthcare systems than would otherwise be possible.

These kinds of arrangements can widen distribution networks to new markets and channels, provide economies of scale, fill gaps in skill sets, increase sales volumes and bring efficiency gains.

For a young, dynamic pharmaceutical company like Accord, strategic partnerships are an important way of increasing patient access to our wide portfolio of generic medicines and added-value products.

Some of the biggest partnerships we operate are with integrated health care providers – multinational wholesalers such as PHOENIX, McKesson and Walgreens Boots Alliance. We also have local distribution partners for particular markets and a longstanding relationship with a clinical trial company.

“You need to have open and honest communication between both sides so that it doesn’t impact the business performance of either”

In our first decade in the industry the range and depth of partnerships that we’ve formed and continue to maintain have taught us some valuable lessons about creating successful and productive partnerships.

Tips for mutually beneficial partnerships

Forming mutually beneficial partnerships starts with both sides aligning their strategic objectives. You’ll be operating together to bring a product or service to the market, so shared aims and values are really important if you want to maximise your respective skill sets.

With those in place, forward planning is key. In order to prepare for a win-win situation, a real partnership will see both parties more willing to share than they might usually be. The important thing is not to be blinkered and solely focused on the prize at stake.

This all needs to be done in a spirit of openness and trust. To facilitate this, communicating clearly is one of the best ways to avoid any potential partnership pitfalls. For the markets in which we operate, products have such long cycles from initiation to delivery that any number of bottlenecks can occur. To manage these, should they arise, you need to have open and honest communication between both sides so that it doesn’t impact the business performance of either. Without it, mistrust can fester and have a corrosive effect on relationships.

Bringing new competition to the Balkans market

We adhered closely to these positive principles with a partnership we set up to bring new sources of pharmaceuticals to the Balkans market. Working with PHOENIX, which is present in all Balkan countries, to commercialise our products in non-EU territories where we had limited experience allowed us to respond to the approaches we received from representatives from these markets, requesting help with dealing with product shortages in oncology. Reviewing a shortlist of potential partners, we found PHOENIX and ourselves to be strategically aligned on issues such as how could we get into these markets in a very compliant way.

“Taking a strategic approach and creating a scenario of openness meant that we could provide fundamental benefits for patients, by bringing affordable medicines to a population of over 25 million”

The clear lines of communication that we put in place ensured that we both understood the pitfalls and the timelines for the partnership. It’s obviously no mean feat to successfully register and launch products in quick succession into seven different markets with different regulatory programmes, different languages, different packages and different market dynamics.

Taking a strategic approach and creating a scenario of openness meant that we could provide fundamental benefits for patients, by bringing affordable medicines to an population of over 25 million.

The benefits of a productive partnership

In addition to improving the situation for patients, the healthcare systems that exist to serve them can also benefit from the addition of new sources of competition, helping them to provide affordable medicines as well as be better equipped to deal with any potential product shortages. Bringing a focused approach to product supplies via our network also produces efficiencies in the form of economies of scale and access, allowing us to offer more affordable alternatives for patients.

One of the key benefits is that strategic partnerships bring a new element into play as you move into new markets and new channels. Coming together in this manner produces a virtuous circle, whereby one plus one equals substantially more than two, to the benefit of partners, patients and healthcare systems alike.

About the author

Phill SemmensPhill Semmens is the Senior Vice President for Commercial for EMENA Accord Healthcare Limited at Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Phill has over 20 years’ experience in the pharmaceutical industry and has been Associated with Accord since 2013. Prior to this he worked at Mylan, based in France, as Vice President Institutional for Europe. Previously with Actavis in Hospital roles for Western Europe, based in Switzerland and Central Eastern Europe based in the UK. Prior to Actavis he spent 12 years with Faulding/Mayne/Hospira with a number of functional roles finance. project management, product management and commercial based in the UK.

He is presently involved in driving the strategic initiatives and growth plans for EMENA in Commercial at Accord to drive high quality affordable generic medicines into the region. Phill is a qualified accountant with a bachelor’s degree in Banking and Financial Services.