Less than one in five UK patients is aware of services

10 June 2015 Consultancy.uk

Less than one in five UK patients is aware of the services available to them, research by Accenture shows. The study also reveals that of the patients that are aware of the services, almost 60% will make use of the offerings. According to the firm, the results highlight the opportunity for pharma companies to improve their impact in healthcare by investing in providing information and access to patient services.

In a recently released report, titled ‘Patient Services - Pharma’s Best Kept Secret’, Accenture researches the extent of unmet patient needs across a patient’s care journey. The consulting firm’s research is based on a survey of 10,000 patients in the US, UK, France, Germany and Brazil across seven therapeutic areas. The UK survey included 2,000 respondents.

Patients are generally not aware of services available

One of the key findings of the research is that the vast majority of patients are not aware of the services available to help them. Globally, less than one in five (19%) patients is aware of the available services, with the number even lower in the UK, at 17%. The research shows that the awareness, while low in across all services in the UK, is the lowest in when it comes to dealing with payers/insurers, at 6%, and the highest when it comes to obtaining information on a specific condition (34%).

Usage of services when aware

The research also shows that 59% of the patients use services when they are aware of them. While usage of specific patient services varies, utilisation is generally high across all services provided. In the UK, the highest usage of services (74%) is found with services that provide information on a condition.

Services valued

In the UK, almost three out of four patients rate the services available as ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ valuable, with this level of satisfaction seen across all disease states. The lowest valued services, at 60%, are those related to guidance for better ways to pay for treatment, while the highest valued services (80%) are those set up to get detailed information on treatment options.

When it comes to receiving information on the available services, UK patients prefer their healthcare professionals, such as doctors, specialists, nurses or pharmacists, to be the primary source of information, with 67% preferring their doctor. Digital channels come in second and are a preferred source of at 57% of patients. The vast majority wants one point of contact to help them manage their health, with 86% preferring their healthcare professionals.

Primary source of information on services

Commenting on the results, Tony Romito, Managing Director of Accenture Life Sciences, says: “These findings show there is a significant opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to improve their impact in healthcare by raising patient awareness of value-added services throughout a patient’s care journey. [...] Most pharmaceutical companies today have not prioritised messaging around patient services to healthcare professionals and instead have focused messaging on areas such as clinical efficacy, safety, and access. With less than one in five patients aware of patient services, these survey results indicate investments in providing information and access to patient services should be revisited.”

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Privately-owned UK pharmaceutical companies are thriving

04 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Britain’s 50 fastest-growing privately-owned pharmaceutical companies have all increased sales by at least 10% in each of their last two financial years, new research reveals, facing down headwinds such as Brexit and NHS spending pressures to deliver outstanding performance. 

According to data by Alantra, a corporate finance firm with over 280 professionals globally (of which 70 are based in the UK), pharmaceutical companies in the country are thriving. “These companies have achieved remarkable rates of growth,” said Tom Cowap, a Director in Alantra’s UK advisory business. “Many of UK’s smaller and privately-owned businesses often lead their markets globally.”

The fastest-growing pharma player in the industry – Qualasept Pharmaxo, a specialist pharmacy provider and clinical homecare company – achieved annualised sales growth of 77% over its last two financial years. The analysis reveals that firms that have made the prestigious list differentiate themselves through their ability to isolate and then communicate a diverse set of value drivers, including societal issues such as the economic case for a product, as well as patient outcomes. 

One fast grower, Prescient Healthcare Group, is focused on advising drug development and commercialisation teams (executives) for some of the largest pharmaceutical companies, as well as the smaller firms and biotechs. “We help them differentiate their assets and brands and understand the priorities of the key stakeholders who will influence and enable commercial success and patient access,” said Rakesh Verma, the company’s President of EMEA and APAC.

Pharmaceutical companies in the UK are thrivingAt Oxford PharmaGenesis, Chief Operating Officer Richard White agrees. “We no longer refer to ourselves as a medical communications business because that is too narrow,” he said. “We think HealthScience communications is a better representation of our wider range of activities: in growing areas such as value demonstration and patient communications, for example, but also in talking to a wider audience that still includes physicians, but also spans payers, patients, regulators and even policymakers.” 

For Mark Jeffery, a founding director of The Research Partnership, this shift has meant his firm now provides its specialist market research to pharmaceuticals working at every stage of the product cycle. His company is as at home researching how a marketplace might change over the next 15 years as its is analysing demand for a specific new product or forecasting future sales of an established product going off-patent. “This is a global market, with emerging market customers becoming more and more important to us,” Jeffery says. “Our value driver is the strategic direction we can give clients based on the data.” 

This is not to suggest a broader product offering will erode the importance of specialist skills. Nucleus Global Chairman Stephen Cameron said, “The complexity of the compounds that clients are developing means they need real specialist expertise in niche areas – we invest heavily in recruiting and retaining the right people to meet those needs, and talent is going to be a battleground for our sector.” Nevertheless, burgeoning demand is driving a wave of consolidation amongst the consultants. The last 12 months alone have seen medical communications group Fishawack acquire creative consultant Blue Latitude and Peloton Advantage buy Open Health Communications. Private equity interest in the sector has also been heightened.

Alex Marshall, Partner at CIL Consultants, a management consultancy with specialist teams covering this space, expects this to continue. “This is a rare opportunity to invest in a market where the leading players are generating organic growth of 10% or more each year,” he says. “It’s an industry that remains reasonably fragmented, plus emerging trends such as digitalisation and the growing importance of health economics are only just getting going.” 

Expect international expansion to be an important theme too, especially in developing and emerging markets. Prescient Healthcare Group’s Rakesh Verma says the growth of the middle classes, particularly in developing economies, will underpin a sustained increase in demand for healthcare, even if economic and political instability present short-term challenges. “These markets are going to be hugely important over the longer term, as their middle class populations grow and their governments move towards universal healthcare models,” Verma says.

“This presents new challenges for commercialising products, as pharma and biotechs have to navigate regulatory regimes they are less familiar with. The key will be to focus on individual countries, rather than falling into the trap of targeting regions or country grouping acronyms; you need to build the right infrastructure and pricing model for each specific market.”