A new approach to market access in China: part 2

Sarah Giles of inVentiv Health continues her tips to tackle pharma market access challenges in China.

(Continued from ‘A new approach to market access in China: part 1‘ )

3) Define the value story.

• Work in the cross-functional team to explore payer stakeholders’ and key influencers’ current knowledge and beliefs related to a therapies’ value and access. Next map out the therapy access vision, what the future knowledge and belief should be in order to realise optimal access for a given therapy. Then work together to map out the knowledge and information gap required to support the needed shift in a payers’ knowledge to achieve optimal access. This process will help define your value story.

4) Build the evidence for the value story.

• Ensure that there is solid evidence to support each element of the value story. Work with medical, HEOR and external experts to build this evidence base.

• Payers will be interested in evidence relevant to their local population. Collate local evidence and ensure evidence can be adapted to meet local needs.

• Simple Excel-based disease burden and budget-impact models can be developed to enable field teams to demonstrate the clinical, health system and economic burden of disease and apply product value to a specific local population.

“Test and refine your value story with external stakeholders (including government payers, clinicians, pharmacists and in local hospitals) to ensure it is relevant to specific needs.”

5) Test the value story.

• Test and refine your value story with external stakeholders (including government payers, clinicians, pharmacists and in local hospitals) to ensure it is relevant to specific needs.

• Host workshops for field teams to listen to the needs and objectives of external stakeholders and then practice delivery of the value story in a comfortable environment.

6) Demonstrate value beyond the medicine.

• Ensure that your value story builds in the wider value that your organization can bring to healthcare in China, beyond your product. The current Chinese health landscape provides a huge opportunity to work closely with payers – in an open and transparent way – to help them achieve health reform and improve outcomes.

• Support the shift of healthcare into the primary care setting by reaching across global organizations to bring together knowledge and expertise from other developed markets with well-run primary care systems.

• Consider where and how to offer added-value initiatives to help payers achieve their objectives. Some suggestions are listed below:

Examples of effective added-value initiatives:

o Physician and healthcare professional education – designing and delivering novel educational programmes to improve the standards of care for physicians, wider health professionals and administrative staff is essential in order to establish a solid and sustainable healthcare service. There is a particular need to improve standards of care in the community-based setting and throughout rural regions.

o Patient / public education programmes – simple and scalable education programmes such as in-clinic seminars, digital campaigns and media outreach can support the shift in current behaviour required to empower patients to take more ownership of their care and treatment choice. These techniques can also encourage the needed shift in location of care to a more community-based approach that will alleviate current overcrowding of top tier hospitals.


“Consider where and how to offer added-value initiatives to help payers achieve their objectives.”

o Advancing the role of nurses – the role of nurses in China is still limited. With the government’s desire to improve outcomes and broaden access to care, the nurse role will need to expand to take on more responsibility and ownership for care. As we have seen in other developed markets, the development of specialised nurse roles has greatly improved the patient experience and clinical outcomes. Patient Pathway Guides – managing capacity and demand is often a huge challenge for stakeholders, payers and clinicians alike. Providing teams with the knowledge to discuss this challenge and ability to explore potential solutions with a stakeholder will help to demonstrate value beyond the product alone. Working with stakeholders to collate examples of patient pathways that have streamlined access to care and sharing this good practice will encourage health services to adopt new models of care.

o Business skills for payers and health providers – as the Chinese health system develops it will be required to work in a more sophisticated and streamlined manner to improve outcomes whilst maintain healthcare expenditure. As such, health providers and payers will be required to apply business skills to their services. MNCs can support by providing education in such business skills that will help to improve service efficiencies.

7) Effectively communicate the value story across your company.

• Once you have the value story defined and the evidence collated, it’s important to help teams to effectively communicate the value story.

• As well as conducting value message training, a number of tools can be developed, ideally validated by external stakeholders, to help communicate the value of a product to multiple stakeholders across specific populations, including interactive value message matrix models that align your value story with differing customer needs and populations, and guides to how your product can improve service efficiencies and support health reform.

To enable more patients to benefit from the latest advances in medicine in China, it is important for the biopharma industry to understand the payer landscape, be forward thinking and apply evidence-based approaches to demonstrate the value of products. Ultimately, we need to show how a particular therapy will provide wider improvements in cost savings across the system, favourable clinical outcomes and positive patient experience, specific to local population needs. If this evidence can be provided and effectively communicated, this will be a major step forward in ensuring optimal patient access.



About the author:

Sarah Giles is the Access and Integrated Communications Director, inVentiv Health Communications China.

Sarah leads inVentiv Health China’s access and integrated communications work as well as inVentiv Health’s global access communications. Please contact her at sarah.giles@inventivhealth.com with any queries.

Sarah has a BSc Hons in biochemistry, as well as post-graduate studies in healthcare management, policy and health economics from the London School of Economics and Birkbeck. She has extensive health service experience in quality, service design, guideline development and patient group-provider strategy. Her work includes driving quality and service innovation improvement across leading European and Chinese private/public healthcare providers, consulting for patient advocacy groups, Department of Health agencies and NICE. She has also designed and implemented award-winning communications programmes for multiple biopharmaceutical companies at a global, regional and local level.

How do you see the payer landscape to be in China?