Alliance Life Sciences Formalizes Software Organization, Launches Separate Division

SOMERSET, N.J. / LONDON – October 27, 2014 – Alliance Life Sciences Consulting Group (ALSCG), a leading global life sciences consultancy and technology provider, announces the launch of a separate division focused on life sciences price optimization software and the appointment of Mark Costa as senior vice president of Products to lead and drive the strategic and operational direction of this new software product division.

Costa brings over 20 years of software sales and management experience primarily in life sciences to this division, created as a separate group from the Company’s service offerings in order to provide more effective product development and better alignment with market needs.

Alan Crowther, CEO, ALSCG, says, “Costa has relationships with many of the top 25 pharmaceutical companies, and comes on board at an exciting time for our organization as we experience the growth of this newly created division. We built this separate software division to support an appropriate structure for growth and to allow the right partner ecosystem to evolve around the product. Costa is absolutely the right person to accomplish these objectives, while delivering great customer satisfaction.”

Coming most recently from Revitas, a global life sciences revenue management software company, Mr. Costa is an expert in complex enterprise solution lifecycles and customer adoption of new technologies within the global revenue management segment of the life sciences industry. As founder of multiple information technology businesses, Costa has the experience to direct entrepreneurial and high performance organizations and teams, propelling them to meet and exceed goals and generate the customer satisfaction necessary to sustain high year-over-year revenue growth.

Costa says, “It is exciting, and an honor, to be part of the ALSCG organization. The new structure will help to deliver more value to our customers and partners. I’m looking forward to driving our software business, focused on our customers’ business and their success.”

 

Insight. Innovation. Impact. Integrity.

During the first quarter of 2014, Alliance began our journey to develop a new message that would embody our company as a whole.  Our clients and internal team provided feedback that shaped a new prospective leading to the launch of our re-branding.  Through all of our development activities, one theme prevailed, the importance of our customers.  The ultimate outcome being, that it’s not about what we do but who we do it for and how they benefit.

Keeping both the feedback and the end goals of our customers in mind we developed our new tagline Insight. Innovation. Impact. Integrity. Through this process, we found that it’s not our knowledge, solutions, and proprietary tools that our company thrives on. It’s the team of passionate people.

Who better to ask what the new Alliance brand means then those people themselves? Check out their responses at the link below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvIyErRkDII&list=UUiPA3dAD-HVHSyfsVgQ5mmg

To celebrate the re-birth of our brand, we held a “brand day” party on September 26th, 2014, which luckily for us, and our executive team whom were elected to take the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, ended up being a warm Indian summer day.  Equipped with a Taco truck and various team building activities the day left our team with high moral and many laughs to take with us.

taco truck

 

Alliance’s V.P.Global Client Development Jon Kizner and Executive V.P, Global Sales and Marketing Jeff Erb order lunch!

ring toss

 

CFO Jason Watters playing Ring Toss to raise money for ALS.

ice bucket challenge

CEO Alan Crowther takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

 

Alliance Life Sciences Launches New Brand and Website Brings Focus to Customer Centric Impact

SOMERSET, N.J. / LONDON – September 29, 2014 – Alliance Life Sciences Consulting Group (ALSCG), a leading global life sciences consultancy and technology provider, announces the re-launch of its brand and website at http://www.alscg.com.

After a thorough review of its brand positioning and their client’s motivations for engagement, the company debuts it’s new positioning through the tagline: “Insight. Innovation. Impact. Integrity.”

ALSCG is a global innovator that delivers peace of mind and unlocks business value with unique solutions to complex commercial problems. The company combines proprietary technology and consulting to maximize product portfolio value through strategy, insights, technology and customer engagement.

“Our customers think of ALSCG as the definitive go-to resource, helping them to rethink contracting, sales and marketing, pricing and market access operations to meet emerging stakeholder requirements and expectations,” says Alan Crowther, CEO of ALSCG. “We are strategically aligned with our customers to unlock business value with unique solutions to these problems.”

After conducting research utilizing an agency, Alliance‘s new brand direction closely portrays a bold and innovative approach to solving challenges within life sciences, while providing messaging that align with its customer’s motivational drivers.

Through its three practice areas that focus on revenue management through a product’s lifecycle, Alliance creates meaningful and compelling value, with global projects that have included:

  • Pricing study delivered in Switzerland
  • Global pricing system delivered in Germany
  • Health economic study for a “Top 5″ pharma company in Taiwan
  • Animal health website delivered in Chile
  • Emerging market entrance pricing strategy in India
  • Revenue contract management system delivered in the USA

International Reference Pricing

International Reference Pricing is a complex issue faced by Pharmaceutical companies which has a large effect on a drug’s lifecycle. The price for a drug is often set by referencing the price of a similar drug in various countries. In a reference pricing system, equivalent medicines are put together in a reference group which are defined by either active substance, pharmacological class, or therapeutic class. This system puts pressure on pharmaceutical companies to compete with the reference priced product but also reduces competition.

An optimal price management strategy for a marketed product must constantly look at pricing trends of competing products within the market. Access to authentic, current, and historical prices for competing products empowers companies with the information necessary to ensure that their own strategies are headed in the right direction and allows them to make adjustments when necessary. They also need to monitor responses by competitors to price actions taken for their own products. In addition, competitor drug pricing data is needed for a multitude of modeling exercises such as pharmaco-economic and budget impact exercises.

International Reference Pricing best practices allow pharmaceutical companies to:

  • Assist in defining an optimal global pricing strategy through the identification of pricing trends for competing products in key markets
  • Stay ahead of austerity measures across key markets by tracking changes such as price cuts, margin changes and more
  • Maintain the most current, as well as historical, exchange rates to facilitate conversions to standard currencies

For more information please visit http://www.alscg.com/products/global-pricing-reimbursement-market-access/priceright-global-lifecycle-price-management.

Drug Life Cycle Pricing Challenges

Pharmaceutical manufacturers face challenges during all the phases of the drug life cycle in accurately pricing their products. When launching a product, many companies struggle to answer questions around optimizing launch sequence by country, collecting the necessary insights into the impact of launch pricing, and ways of dealing with unexpected changes in plans.  When dealing with price maintenance and compliance, the concerns heighten as millions of dollars can be lost annually in unnecessary price erosion. The risk of fees and penalties arise as an issue in government pricing, and forecasting reference price quickly and accurately becomes difficult.  Advancement of the product’s maturity through its lifecycle raises similar questions when loss of exclusivity occurs.

Launch sequence is a complex analytic problem typically “solved” in a
simpler Excel model, but a better algorithm can yield better results. Automated
price optimization processes can create 0.1% to 0.2% increases in your main
portfolio, 1% to 2% improvements in product maturity, and 1% improvement in
launch planning. Automation of the maturity phase of your products can add as
much value as your top sellers and be as profitable as a blockbuster, but is
inefficient to manage in the same manner because of many more products and
pricing decisions.

Pricing, Reimbursement & Market Access is historically under invested in IT Spend relative to its impact when compared to other departments such as Sales & Marketing. The following issues are typical within the department:

  • Excel-driven processes are the standard for calculations.
  • No commercial software available causing large development efforts necessary for advanced analytics.
  • Business rules were dynamic and expensive for IT for support in a system.
  • Historical year-over-year IT budgeting remains relatively stagnant.

Why it’s time to change:

  • Accessible analytics are now on the market and are end-user friendly.
  • Successful pricing optimization software implementations have been completed in other industries, i.e. Retail and commercial airlines
  • Payer influence is much greater than 15 years ago, and they are driving the need for optimization causing a shift away from the traditional promotional model.

Alliance’s PriceRight solution has some of the most sophisticated and innovative price analytic features, accompanied by unique capabilities from planning to launch, through operational price and tender management, into generic erosion and loss-of-exclusivity. The capabilities ensure that we don’t just address your needs, but invent better pricing approaches.

PriceRight offers more accurate, insightful analytics that reduce erosion and drive more to the bottom line. The open platform is critical to adapting to change because of the regulatory environment that spans at least 50+ major markets for most pharmaceutical companies. PriceRight helps companies manage their pricing throughout its lifecycle, and enables global market access, all in a single integrated suite.

Emerging Global Pharmaceutical Trends for 2014-2020

The landscape for pharmaceutical research and development is shrinking, resulting in reduced revenue possibilities and tougher competition. New regulatory and pricing trends emerging this decade bring a paradigm shift that the industry must respond to and embrace to ensure success. The future will bring increased responsibilities to pharmaceutical manufacturers, but will also open the door for new opportunities.

Picture 1

Smaller Launches

As broad-spectrum pharmaceuticals become increasingly available, the industry begins shifting towards a more specialized focus. Orphan drugs are becoming the focus of development efforts as the specialized area harbors the most opportunity. New patents are being awarded primarily to prescription pharmaceuticals that can address previously untreated – or under-treated – diseases. As a result, the quickest way to an exclusive marketable drug is filling these niche markets.

In 2013 the number of FDA-approved new molecular entities (NMEs) met an industry average of 27, although this number dropped from the 39 approved in 2012. Most of the NMEs approved last year are targeted toward rare diseases or highly-specific medical conditions, proving that Orphan Drugs are becoming the focus for future growth. With such a niche target, large blockbuster releases are entirely impractical. Instead, pharmaceutical manufacturers have favored smaller, more strategically precise launches and as the trend continues into 2014, smaller but more frequent product launches are likely to continue.

Value-Based Pricing

This year we will see the regulations for pharmaceutical pricing reach full effect in the UK. The primary factor behind pricing pressure is a push toward value pricing, a pricing model based upon what customers are willing to pay and the perceived benefits one drug may have over another. The shift toward buyer-focused modeling brings increased pressure for pharmaceutical companies to bring lower-priced or higher-impact drugs to the market. While the regulation is currently localized to the UK, it is likely other European countries will follow suit. With proof of customer benefits, the trend is likely to spread throughout global markets, shifting the burden of affordable healthcare to pharmaceutical manufacturers rather than healthcare providers or insurance companies.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ToHRIy991mo

Increased global communication will effect pricing models even further. As international transparency increases, customers gain better ability to compare drug prices across various markets for themselves. Greater technological assessments of new drugs will move the power into the buyer’s hands, putting increased pressure on drug manufacturers to lean toward a buyer-friendly market. A pricing paradigm shift throughout 2014 may be seen that could continue to control pharmaceutical pricing through the remainder of the decade.

Increased Collaboration

2013 represented a rather calm year for pharmaceutical acquisitions and mergers. The relaxed atmosphere is expected to dissipate in the coming years as trends shift towards more aggressive marketing. As previously stated, the pharmaceutical industry is moving toward more specialized medicines, and the race to be the first to bring a targeted drug to the market will cause an increase in company acquisitions. Smaller manufacturers can expect to face increased pressure for mergers or collaborative efforts from bigger companies in the interest of protecting margins for emerging prescription drugs.

In situations where acquisitions are impractical, collaboration efforts from major pharmaceutical companies in producing new research and launching new drugs may be the only option for ensuring a return on investment. However, by its very nature, collaboration means smaller margins for each party involved, splitting profits between each functioning entity and while it could mean smaller profits per drug, the speed and technology of collaborative efforts could increase a company’s overall production. The shifting terrain only better serves the anticipation of smaller, more frequent product launches.

Social Media and Digital Marketing

In the past, the pharmaceutical industry by nature had a resistance to social media and digital marketing techniques. With built-in safety concerns, social media marketing brought a higher risk for the company and the potential for a large-scale fallout from aggressive marketing or what may be perceived as negligence. Opening a drug to social platforms carried a responsibility to customer experiences that extended beyond standard health-effect research. The topic shifted into an open forum where individuals can express concerns or negative experiences directly to the marketing branch as well as other customers.

Infographic: http://visual.ly/what-your-primary-goal-social-media-marketing

However, the time has come to embrace social marketing. Cultural trends are leading societies around the globe toward internet-based shopping and product research. As society becomes more closely integrated, social media emerges as the cornerstone for successful marketing campaigns. Admittedly, the concept is not entirely new for pharmaceutical companies, and many manufacturers have been testing the social media waters over the last few years. But as we move into the latter half of the decade, pharmaceutical companies may have to abandon their reluctance and dive head-first into social media marketing, as it will increase their marketing range and establish them as a more socially relevant entity.

Porsche to Pharma – Price Harmonization across GCC

Just as Porsche standardized price levels across the GCC (Gulf Central Committee) a few years ago, Pharma is now following suite.

In July 2005, the health ministers from the six GCC member states, (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), approved the Price Harmonization Process, a mechanism to align pharmaceutical prices across the region. The process, initiated in 2013, aimed to align the Cost, Insurance and Freight (CIF) price of all presentations marketed in the GCC countries.

What are the Possible Repercussions of the Price Harmonization Process?

At present, there are significant differences in medicine prices across the GCC countries and the likely impact of the harmonization process is predicted to effect the majority of products with substantial price reductions expected across therapy areas. If we look at the potential impact on Glivec 100mg as an example, the probable effect of price harmonization could mean reductions of 5% in UAE and 34.65% in Kuwait.¹

Could the Price Harmonization Process Impact other Non-GCC Countries?

The Price Harmonization Process could potentially have an effect on other countries which take into reference the GCC countries when International Price Referencing.

Each of the GCC countries has a different regulatory timeline and process; if the registration process therefore were to start at the same time in all the GCC countries, the new product would have a different launch date in each market and the launch price in the 1st market may be reduced if one of the other GCC markets launches at a lower price.

In summary, the Price Harmonization Process is expected to result in significant price reductions for medicines across GCC countries. The importance of optimal product launch sequencing will become increasingly important to bear in mind when launching a new product in these markets.

For more information on Alliance’s global pricing intelligence service, please see our Pricentric product page.

  1. Source: Pricentric™ data – April 2014 prices

Alliance Life Sciences Launches New Pricentric™ Portal: Robust Data Services Application Synthesizes Competitive Global Pharmaceutical Pricing and Reimbursement Data

Alliance Life Sciences is pleased to announce the launch of a new portal for Pricentric™, a comprehensive data services product that integrates competitive pharmaceutical pricing and reimbursement data from multiple global markets. We are offering a free trial of the new portal at: pricentric.alscg.com/demo

“Pricentric™ enables our customers to stay ahead of austerity measures across key markets by tracking changes, such as price cuts, margin changes and more,” says Preeti Patel, Vice President, Consulting Services, ALSCG. “This reliable, fully customizable offering – the first of its size and scope — is designed to meet customer needs, providing data coverage spanning over 80 countries, and enabling easy treatment cost comparisons and reimbursement levels for key products by indication or country.”

Pricentric™ provides a robust data source with standardized naming conventions that enable users to easily compare product prices.  Data is standardized using Alliance’s proprietary product classification system to enable easy cross-country comparison at the product and pack level.

Pricentric™ features include:

  • Full range of reimbursement information, including status, prescribing      restrictions, rates and co-payment prices
  • The most current, and historical, exchange rates to facilitate conversions to      standard currencies
  • Flexible data delivery options enable access via PRICENTRIC™ portal, Microsoft or Excel

“Pricentric™ helps users to define an optimal global pricing strategy through the identification of pricing trends in key markets, and monitor responses by competitors to price actions taken for the company’s own products,” adds Patel.  “A team of dedicated experts is available to help with interpreting data, and users can access analysis and modeling exercises, such as pharmaco-economical modeling, analysis, and hospital pay or budget impact, to assist decision-making processes.”

Highlights from the 2014 Pharma Pricing & Market Access Outlook Conference in London

by Patricia Ladrón de Guevara

UK – Update on VBP

Paul Catchpole announced that the Value Base Pricing implementation has been delayed until late 2014.

It was announced that the VBP scheme is going to include an annual cap on economic growth of each medicine. If the pharmaceutical company exceeds the growth agreed, a rebate of the amount exceed will have to be paid back – this amount will be visible to the public!

Referring to NICE, it was said that NICE will be a body to evaluate reimbursement not pricing. It was explained that NICE will not negotiate, publicly set or indicate prices.  The threshold will remain at the same level. NICE will evaluate Value Based Assessments from autumn 2014.

Germany – AMNOG Analysis

Dr. Meriem Bouslouk gave a rundown of recent news on the AMNOG situation expressing that the market launch and early benefit assessment run in parallel with AMNOG. The mandatory rebate of 16% was reduced to 6% the 1st of January of 2014 and will be increased to 7% the 1st of April pf 2014.

France – Medico-Economic Assessment

Professor Jean–Luc Harousseau talked about the pricing process in France.

It was explained that the drugs in France are priced in accordance to the ASMR classification. If the drug is classified in class ASMR I and II: the price will be based on IPR If the drug is classified in class ASMR III and IV: the price approved will be similar to the comparator. If the drug is classified in class ASMR V: the price approved will be cheaper than the comparator and the product will not be reimbursed.

Netherlands – Temporary Reimbursement

Martin van der Graff introduced a very important concept to bear in mind in Netherlands when launching a product in Netherlands, Temporary Reimbursement. It was explained that if you achieve all the criteria for temporary reimbursement in Netherlands, you can launch the product and negotiate the price afterwards.

Italy – Algorithm to Define Innovation

Dr Giovanni Tafuri explained the changes introduced in the evaluation system in Italy.

It was announced that currently in Italy, there is a possibility of quick access ie launch the product before starting the reimbursement process with free pricing.

There are 3 groups of medicines with a faster negotiation process: orphan drugs, hospital only use medicines and medicines of great therapeutic and social relevance.

One very important feature to highlight about the Italian System is that Dr Giovanni talked about the development of an algorithm to define innovation which is due to be completed in 2015.

Canada – Attractive Pharmaceutical Market

Neil Palmer showed the market figures for the healthcare system in Canada.

It was explained the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board (PMPRB) role: the primarily role of this board is price fixing but is not involved in reimbursement decisions. The classification system is similar to the ASMR rating in France. Also, although price setting is a central decision, reimbursement is solely decided at provincial level.

An IMPORTANT NOTE about the future – Canada is considering extending the basket of reference countries (consult Pricentric for more information)

Greece – Reactivated the Approval of New Drugs

Penny Retsa recalled to the audience that Greece has not approved new drugs in the last 2 years. However, she announced that the Ministry of Health in Greece has reactivated the approval of new drugs from the beginning of 2014.

She highlighted that in the price bulletin that has just been published there are new drug approvals for the first time in 2 years.

The Conclusions of the Conference were:

Due to the limited healthcare resources across the countries, Governments are trying to establish new legislations and rules to ensure that the resources are allocated to the most cost-effective treatment. This is resulting in ever-changing price and reimbursement legislation. For further information contact Patricia at: pricentric@alscg.com