Having previously navigated through the world of academia, I have come to realise that Market Access is one of the best-kept-secrets among the expansive landscape of scientific careers.
Back in 2017 at the end of my biochemistry PhD in Alzheimer’s disease, I decided that the trials and tribulations of the academic lifestyle were not for me. I found myself less interested in the nitty gritty detail of a molecular structure, and more interested in potential real-world medical applications of my research. Unfortunately, even the very finest academic work may not have a real-world application for many years – or worse – never!
This is where Market Access comes in; a place for scientific, pharmaceutical, and medical minds to come together at the leading edge of medical innovation. At OPEN Health, I work as part of a close-knit team of project managers, associate consultants, senior consultants, medical writers and health economists. Together, we provide solutions that enable pharmaceutical and medical device companies to bring a medical product to the market. All of the above means exposure to a wide spectrum of diseases, therapeutic pathways, and novel treatments.
As a Market Access Consultant Writer, I am responsible for developing written materials which communicate the key benefits and value of an upcoming treatment to a variety of stakeholders; including patients, clinicians, formulary managers, regulatory institutions, and reimbursement bodies. These materials include value dossiers, HTA submission dossiers (e.g. NICE, SMC, NCPE, AWSMG), and visually impactful PowerPoint presentations. In addition, I am involved in the creation and delivery of interactive virtual workshops.
A key pillar of the role is therefore to always ask myself:
"How will this therapy help patients in ways that other therapies do not?”
On a project-by-project basis, a Consultant Writer works closely with a Market Access Consultant and a Market Access Director; both of whom liaise with clients and manage project timelines, budgets, and milestones. A typical day for me will start by checking in with the Consultant to agree on tasks to be completed. Most tasks require some reading around a subject to develop a complete understanding around a disease area and available treatments. Once familiar, I might spend a day drafting a storyboard to build a value narrative, or draft a section of a dossier. As projects advance, less time is spent drafting new content and more time is spent tending to and responding to comments or queries received from clients. Beyond writing, some projects also give you a chance to get creative – especially when tasked with translating a body of text-heavy supporting evidence into an array of colourful infographics and figures!
In parallel with content development, it is important to remain in close contact with all project team members, including the client. A Consultant Writer may expect to attend a meeting with different clients between one and three times per week – where they may be asked to provide an update on progress, discuss content with the client, or listen in to take notes. Clients are typically reliant on your familiarity with the data and supporting evidence, as you are often closer to it than any other member of the team.
What I love about what I do
Having worked in Market Access for 2.5 years, I can confidently say that it has been a life-changing experience that allows me to work on the front lines of medical innovation, and offers a clear career progression pathway. Market Access gives me the opportunity to learn new things on a daily basis, including both the fundamentals of pharmaceutical business, and the background of a wide-ranging number of diseases.
Over the past year at OPEN Health, I have contributed towards the writing of a NICE ‘Single Technology Appraisal’ HTA submission for an oncological immunotherapy; and taken tremendous pride in the fact that our written dossier is one of the final steps in convincing the NHS to fund a treatment and give patients access to a life-saving therapy. At the other end of the spectrum, a more creative project has involved developing an internally distributed global value dossier and slide deck for a web-connected ventilator solution, where I took my first step into the exciting field of digital health and discovered the future of ‘big data’-informed healthcare.
To achieve such goals, a supportive and collaborative environment has been key. OPEN Health has done an excellent job of finding and attracting a group of people with a friendly and positive attitude; collectively forming a robust support network that is a pleasure to work within. In particular, it is energising to closely work with an array of highly experienced Writers, Consultants and Directors that have specialised in Market Access, RWE, and HEOR for many years, some of whom have managed departments at some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
The widespread network of supportive expertise allows me to focus my time on what I enjoy most, writing impactful content in a field that I love!
All in all, OPEN Health has given me the confidence to grow as an expert in healthcare and play a vital role in getting novel therapies to patients. My only regret is that I didn’t enter Market Access sooner!