Fare Thee Well 2022

Published: 
December 26, 2022
Updated: 
4 min read
Ruth Whittington
Caption:

This being the last blog of the year, we thought it worthwhile to look back at some of the major events impacting medical communications and market access for the pharma industry, and leave you with our opinions of how this will affect 2023.

We have had a fantastic year, with our wonderful clients relying on us more and more. While we hope this trend continues, we know that some of the upcoming changes are putting heavier burdens on our clients, so we’re working on ways we can alleviate some of them with our growing team. If you have been reading our previous blogs, you’ll know we’ve been picking up ideas from congresses – I’ll be summarising the benefits of these below.

The medical communications and market access industry is a rapidly changing field. In 2022, the industry was worth over $US2 billion, while the pharmaceutical industry was worth over $US1 trillion. The US pharma industry has been under scrutiny in the last few years for its high prices, perhaps because the US is nearly always the world’s most lucrative market for healthcare products.

In the US in 2017, the Inflation Reduction Act was introduced in order to help control the cost of drugs. It allows Medicare to negotiate drug prices and import drugs from Canada, where drug prices are much lower. It requires pharmaceutical companies to give rebates to Medicaid and the Veterans Health Administration for any increases in the price of their drugs. The Act also requires pharmaceutical companies to report any price increases to the federal government.

A new law being passed in the US is called the Medical Innovations Prize Act, which claims to encourage innovation by allowing companies to sell their drugs at lower prices for a limited time without losing patent protection. While this is an excellent opportunity for US pharma, the Inflation Reduction Act has stirred the pharma industry to protest loudly and long.

There are pros and cons to the Inflation Reduction Act. One of the pros is that helps control the cost of drugs. In the past, pharmaceutical companies would periodically raise prices on their drugs. The Inflation Reduction Act helps to control these price increases. Another pro is that the pricing of drugs is more transparent. Before the Inflation Reduction Act was passed, pharmaceutical companies were not required to report their prices to the government.

A con of the Inflation Reduction Act is that it may discourage innovation. Pharmaceutical companies may be less likely to invest in research and development if they know that they will have to give rebates for any price increases. Another con is that it will increase the cost for other people who are not on Medicare, which could lead to higher health insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs. A further con is that the Inflation Reduction Act may not be effective in the long run. The Inflation Reduction Act only requires pharmaceutical companies to give rebates for price increases that occur after the Act was passed. This means that drugs already on the market are not affected by the Act. A lot has changed in the healthcare and pharmaceutical landscape in recent years. For one, the industry has become much more data-driven, and companies are constantly looking for ways to collect and utilise data to improve their products and services. This has had a big impact on medical writing and market access, as these fields have had to adapt to new data analyses and evidence generation and presentation.

One of the biggest challenges has been the rise of digital health. With more and more people using wearable devices and apps to track their health, there is a growing need for medical writers who can help turn all of this data into useful information. This has been a boon for market access professionals as well, as they are now able to collect data on patient outcomes and use it to convince payers to reimburse costs of new treatments.

Another big change has been the increasing focus on patient-centred care. With more and more emphasis on patient engagement and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) the pharma companies, market access specialists and health economic agencies must find reliable and valid ways of collecting and using this data to provide evidence for use in value dossiers and submission packages.

The European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) and the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Europe were two conferences very pertinent to medical communications and market access. Both have adapted to the new method of presentation, and offered a virtual program alongside the physical meeting.

We’ve summarised some of the ideas generated from the conferences in previous blogs (ISPOR here and EMWA here), and because some further topics were also very important, we will be adding more detail on these next year. I would urge the congresses to keep the physical meeting as well as the virtual – some of us find our finer insights in conversations with other attendees or presenters.

So that’s it from us for 2022. I trust you are all looking forward to a relaxing and loving festive season, reaffirming family values and taking some time for yourself. Happy holidays, and we look forward to talking with you in 2023.

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Ruth Whittington
CEO of Rx Values Group Ltd
MSc(hons), NZSRN
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