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Market Access Learnings
& Opportunities

September 29, 2021

In this current era of unparalleled data availability, why do market access professionals struggle with more knowledge gaps than ever before?

Biopharma manufacturers now have access to a seemingly endless number of third-party datasets – including product coverage and restrictions, patient enrollment, Rx claims, etc. – often down to local market and HCP levels. Many organizations also supplement this with “human intelligence” from account management teams, acquiring detailed information unavailable in syndicated datasets. Together, these sources represent everything needed to develop world-class pull-through strategies with engaging, highly targeted messaging.

But it certainly doesn’t feel that way for most market access teams. In practice, today’s surplus of data represents both a key strength and an Achilles’ heel.

Water water everywhere, but not a drop to drink.

– Samuel Taylor Coleridge

A Changing Landscape Redefines “Access”

While data is abundant, answering fundamental business questions is more difficult than ever. This is a direct result of the newest generation of biopharma products and their complex market access ecosystems.

We are experiencing a significant shift away from traditional retail products with pull-through focused on simple variables such as formulary tiers. New drug approvals are now increasingly dominated by specialty products, including injections and infusions with medical and/or pharmacy benefit coverage options. These drugs often involve complex distribution and administration requirements, such as specialty pharmacy mandates, site-of-care restrictions and white-bagging policies. Furthermore, simply understanding each of these access elements is not enough. They all interact, and in combination can significantly impact competitive positioning, office logistics and patient affordability. There is increasingly no “one-size fits all” market access pathway.

In response to this evolving market, data providers have expanded offerings to keep pace. Between external vendors, manufacturer hubs, and account teams, almost all key access elements are obtainable with sufficient budgets and resources. Ideally manufacturers should then have real-time access to holistic, integrated access data, with the ability to extract and analyze to drive business decisions.

But how many marketers actually have this type of system available? Surprisingly very few.


Uncovering Data Deficiencies

So where exactly do things break down? The most common issues faced by manufacturers today include:

  • Disconnected Datasets: Most marketers have access to standardized reports from their organization’s analytics teams and data partners that provide high value information (e.g., coverage and restrictions, claims, co-payments, sales). However, each dataset is typically delivered in predetermined intervals using set formats in a separate, disconnected file. The end result is fragmented data, viewable side by side but neither integrated nor flexible enough to realize its full potential as a decision support tool.

    These silos and proprietary data structures make it extremely difficult to effectively bridge access datasets and build a truly comprehensive picture of the access landscape that drives successful prescribing. Emerging evidence also indicates that the recent transition to a more remote workforce may result in further information silos and a decrease in real-time collaboration between teams.[1] This is a problem that demands immediate attention.


  • Challenges Capturing Human IntelligenceMoving beyond syndicated data, organizational knowledge represents one of the most valuable assets of a biopharma manufacturer. The insight that account management teams have into payer coverage decisions, policies, and promotional guidelines through contracting and access to top executives simply can’t be duplicated by third parties.

    Although enormously important in creating accurate and compliant pull-through resources, many manufacturers understandably struggle with systematically capturing and applying this human intelligence to create value. Despite representing important intellectual property, this information often remains with an individual, and can be lost or diluted when that individual moves on to a new role. Even companies committed to collecting this information generally do so using inefficient and imprecise manual processes that rely on shared spreadsheets and email communications. This requires a surprisingly large time commitment, and distracts highly skilled and compensated personnel from their higher impact strategic activities.

  • Data Reliability and ValidationEven the best third-party market access datasets are viewed by users with a degree of healthy skepticism. Collecting complex coverage and policy data from a massive web of Payers, PBMs, and Health Systems requires many different approaches, and as a result is subject to multiple omissions, as well as timing, and accuracy issues. Because key payers and health systems can vary dramatically across geographies, even a 90% data accuracy rate can result in critical errors in key markets.

    For this reason, validation of third-party data by informed account teams remains a necessary (albeit chaotic) activity. Similar to data capture logistics discussed above, manual validation processes remain problematic. Reliability becomes hazy in terms of when things were last validated, by whom, and what actually changed. Compliance also becomes increasingly important if any overrides are applied, with detailed business rules around language used and documentation required for both internal and external data sharing. And this cycle continues indefinitely, requiring frequent review for changes and updates that can become burdensome for all involved.

A Framework for Access Data Excellence

Now that we have outlined common data management issues, we turn to suggested best practices to fully leverage available market access data and confidently deliver impactful information to all stakeholders. To maximize ROI on data assets and inform optimal strategies and tactics, market access data assets should have the following 5 characteristics. You can reference the accompanying questions to help identify where your organization currently stands in its data management evolution.

Confirm that your data is:​​



  • Can the multiple factors driving access be analyzed in combination rather than isolation?

  • Is your organization’s human intelligence captured and shared with the same discipline and technology as your syndicated data providers?

  • Can datasets be linked to create integrated views that inform marketing and resourcing decisions (for example, select coverage metrics overlaid with performance by geography)?



  • Are syndicated coverage and restrictions datasets accurate and up-to-date for key Payers/PBMs and Health Systems?

  • Are account management data overrides applied as needed in a consistent and timely manner?

  • Do you have a reliable system for feedback and challenges from field sales teams and/or field reimbursement managers?



  • Can data fields and inputs be updated in real time or near real time?

  • Can your organization change data providers without impacting your access marketing operations?

  • Is your organization set up to run “what if” scenarios to assess the impact of potential access wins, losses and competitive changes in specific geographies and HCPs?



  • Is comprehensive access data available to access marketers in real-time to drive development of marketing strategies and tactics?

  • Do data visualization tools exist for all relevant team members to quickly review multi-dimensional access data in search of patterns to identify opportunities and drive actions?



  • Are market access processes automated to ensure best practices consistency and compliance across brands and cross-functional market access teams?

  • Is task workflow technology in place to increase efficiencies and ensure higher quality output is created in less time?

  • Is performance tracking automated to ensure consistent impact metrics are created for all market access initiatives?

The Need for a Single Source of Truth

In this environment, we strongly recommend biopharma manufacturers invest in an interactive platform to fully leverage access data for maximum impact. This comprehensive “single source of truth” should capture, validate, and integrate market access data to drive informed actions. It should serve as a flexible and intuitive front-end data laboratory and workflow engine, with varying views, reports and permissions by user. Where relevant, inputs and outputs should flow freely between this system and the organization’s base CRM.

Our experience developing unified applications for market access teams has unlocked previously hidden value and enabled enhanced STP (segmentation, targeting, and positioning). This activity leads to superior tactical execution, and ultimately increases ROI across all access marketing initiatives.


Continue the Discussion

For more information on interactive market access solutions, or to discuss specific requests and requirements, please contact us at

[1] Yang, L., Holtz, D., Jaffe, S. et al. The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers. Nat Hum Behav (2021).

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