A day in the life of an associate market access consultant

Written by Sarah Webb, associate market access consultant on Wednesday 18th August 2021

Market Access is a thriving, fast-paced, and exciting area of the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry, but have you ever wondered what it is really like to be an associate market access consultant?
Sarah Webb describes her daily experiences as an associate market access consultant here at OPEN Health.

There’s no such thing as an average day in my role. I work across a range of therapy areas with UK, European, and global teams, developing materials that support patient access to medicines. At any one time I could be assisting with client workshops, researching reimbursement strategies for rare disease across Europe, or developing value messaging for an up-and-coming drug. For each project, I work as part of a close-knit team including project managers, other associates, and consultants. We work together to ensure that projects are delivered to a happy client, on time and to budget.

As an associate, I have as my key responsibility writing and developing content across a range of projects, but I am also involved in client liaison and business development with existing clients. I start a typical day with checking my emails and planning my day over a cup of coffee. As I am often involved in several projects at a time, I need to balance the work for each, making sure to prioritise projects with nearer deadlines. Then it’s time for action!

One of my main projects now is developing a UK value proposition for an immunology drug. As part of the program, we are running a workshop with the client’s wider team to understand what they see as the important aspects of their product’s value. Pre-COVID, we would have done this face-to-face, but now we are making use of virtual platforms to keep the workshop team engaged throughout. I’m developing the workboards to be used in this workshop, which means combining my creative and problem-solving skills to make sure each board enables us to answer all our client’s questions. We have completed a couple of these workshops now, and the clients love them!

After lunch I have a quick check-in with one of my project leads; we’re sending the first draft of a landscape assessment to a client later this week because they want to check if we are on track. We’re looking at different reimbursement strategies for a rare disease in key European markets. It’s really interesting to see how different systems evaluate whether the drug is to be approved and reimbursed in each market. I find the rare disease space fascinating, as with continual development of more expensive drugs, governments are introducing new strategies to ensure that they are paying only for the most effective treatments. Following our catch-up, I’ll continue working on my section of the presentation; it’s a big project that has really been a team effort!

How COVID-19 has changed my work

Over the past year, we have adapted our approach to working virtually. We have had to think outside the box to ensure we can deliver innovative solutions to our clients that answer the needs of a changing healthcare landscape. At times it has proven challenging, but the end products have been exciting and well-received.

As a team we have stayed connected through virtual channels and incorporated quizzes and even a virtual escape room in them. As part of the quizzes, we’ve been able to know one another a bit better through picture rounds in which, for example, we match the team member to the view from their desk and guess the contents of their fridge. It’s a bit silly, but it has been great to get to know our colleagues better while we are all working from home!

What I love about what I do

Nearly three years ago I came to market access straight from an academic research position, where I spent a lot of time focused on a very small section of biology. I really enjoy the variety in both the disease areas and the type of content that I’m developing. I like that I’m still using the skills that I built during my scientific career but applying them to a different set of challenges.

One of my favourite things about market access is that ultimately the patient is at the centre of everything we do. 

By supporting clients in bringing their drugs to market and achieving reimbursement, we are improving the outcomes of the patients who receive these drugs.

Lastly, I love working with the passionate and driven people within OPEN Health. The Strategic Market Access team has experts with many years of experience across the UK and globally; there is always someone who can provide helpful advice. A wider OPEN Health group provides the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from teams that specialise in real-world evidence, patient-centred outcomes, and economic modelling.

If this is the type of role for you, we would love to talk to you!

If you’d like to hear more about life at OPEN Health, or how you can apply your scientific writing talents to helping patients, please get in touch