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Drug Makers Discuss New Ways to Trim Health Care Costs at ZS Associates and eyeforpharma Forum

EVANSTON, Ill., March 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Executives from pharmaceutical companies and health care payer and provider organizations convened at the "Selling Pharmaceuticals in 2015" forum in Philadelphia to discuss mutually beneficial partnerships that, if implemented, could replace the traditional model of selling drugs on price, features and benefits with a new model that focuses on quantifying and communicating total value.

"Under the traditional model, pharmaceutical companies were focused primarily on getting to the sale," says Angela Bakker Lee, principal with global management consulting firm ZS Associates and chairperson of the forum. "Today, however, they need to place greater emphasis on supporting what happens after a prescription is written. Working with payers and providers to achieve better results for patients will enable forward-thinking pharmaceutical companies to truly differentiate themselves from the competition."

Organized by ZS Associates and eyeforpharma, a leading provider of pharmaceutical business intelligence, the "Selling Pharmaceuticals in 2015" forum attracted senior-level executives from pharmaceutical companies, as well as executives from prominent payer and provider organizations. The event also featured leaders from a range of other industries, including executives from United Airlines, eBay and IBM.  In open forums throughout the day, these sales and marketing leaders shared insights from their experience implementing value-based customer partnerships. They also offered suggestions for how the pharmaceutical industry could adapt current operations and revamp their commercial model to deliver greater value.

"There's a unique opportunity today for pharmaceutical companies to join with payers and providers to innovate and to build better solutions together than either could deliver independently," Bakker Lee said. "Thanks to the cross-industry best-practice sharing at the Philadelphia event, we're confident participants walked away with new-found optimism about the possibility of working together."

An Urgent Need to Adapt

While pharmaceutical companies worldwide face increased price pressures and market access restrictions, they still need to drive earnings growth. According to Torsten Bernewitz, principal with ZS Associates, one of the most effective ways for them to do this is to work with payers and providers — for instance, to support patients in ways that improve compliance and persistence and reduce total healthcare utilization.

A few leading pharmaceutical companies have already taken steps down this path by implementing new account management strategies that focus on "key" accounts. So far, however, most companies have implemented key account management (KAM) narrowly, using it to improve processes, coordination or stakeholder management in one or two lines of business.

"This watered down version of KAM has generated disappointing results," Bernewitz said. "To improve, companies need to use new tools and new training to create a firm-wide change in mindset that encourages and enables their people to pursue value-based partnerships with payers and providers instead of focusing so heavily on driving sales."

Payers Willing to Engage with Pharma

At the ZS/eyeforpharma forum, payers and providers alike expressed willingness to work with drug makers in a bid to improve patient care and control the total cost of healthcare.

While payers were open to engaging in a dialog, they stressed the need for pharmaceutical companies to improve transparency and approach them to discuss potential value-creation levers long before a drug comes to market.

According to Cyndy Nayer, CEO of the Center for Health Value Innovation, re-training all the players in the market including pharmaceutical manufacturers to focus on the value of health rather than merely the cost of healthcare is the central issue. "When stakeholders align to create health, adherence is improved, quality is improved, and the financial trend is improved.  Through outcomes-based contracts, in which improved health status and quality become the platform for purchasing, the alignment occurs.  This is the true outcome of value-based design, and innovative companies are moving rapidly to this space," said Nayer.

"Though pharmaceutical companies face many regulatory challenges when partnering with payers, the benefits of doing so outweigh the difficulties of implementation," Bakker Lee said. "Successful value-creation partnerships can contribute to improved patient outcomes and reduced healthcare costs, and may help manufacturers fight commoditization and succeed in a rapidly changing marketplace."

About ZS Associates

ZS Associates is a global management consulting firm specializing in sales and marketing consulting, capability building and outsourcing. Founded in 1983, the firm today is comprised of four affiliated legal entities with more than 1,300 professionals in 19 offices around the world. It has assisted more than 700 clients in 70 countries.

As one of the largest global consulting firms focused on sales and marketing, ZS Associates has experience across a broad range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical products and services, financial services, transportation and high-tech.  ZS consultants combine deep expertise in sales and marketing with rigorous, fact-based analysis to help business leaders develop and implement effective sales and marketing strategies.

For more information on ZS Associates, call +1 847.492.3602 or visit

About eyeforpharma

A leading global source of information for the pharmaceutical industry, eyeforpharma's reputation is built on quality, in-depth conferences that have distinguished themselves from competitors by the depth and breadth of research they put into each conference to ensure it is covering the hottest and most pertinent issues of the industry.  

Visit to find out more.

About the Center for Health Value Innovation

Information Exchange for Value-Based Design

The Center for Health Value Innovation has grown into the nation's premier organization dedicated to sharing the evidence of improved health and economic outcomes through value-based designs for sustainable health and financial improvement.  

Visit to find out more.

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Angela Bakker Lee

SOURCE ZS Associates

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SOURCE ZS Associates
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