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Innovations in Drug and Medical Device Value Communications: Optimizing Local Payer Engagement

If a new drug or medical device receives a positive evaluation from a national payer, that doesn’t automatically mean that the product will be used locally. The product must be registered on a formulary or selected by a purchasing center first. Successful payer engagement at the local level requires effective value communication. Recent innovations in digital tools can help pharmaceutical companies communicate the value of their products to payers.

As every hospital differs in terms of its size, capacity, budget, specialization/care focus, treatment pathways, and unique patient population, pharmaceutical companies need to tailor their evidence-based solutions for value communication.

Their target audience can be diverse as well. Local payers can be pharmacists, physicians, nurses, hospital administrators, or small plan administrators. These professionals have a role in the decision-making process and care about what happens in their hospital, clinic, or representative patient population.

The level of influence possessed by local payers also varies by country. For example, there are diabetes initiatives in the US and Germany where local groups and stakeholders provide incentives to doctors who care for patients with diabetes. In England, the Clinical Commissioning Groups are well established and responsible for purchasing products and services in a geographical area.


Developing a successful payer engagement strategy starts with learning about the local market and identifying all the payers’ needs and challenges specific to their unique patient population. First, study a familiar strategic account to determine the process followed to get a new drug included in that hospital. Then, work with the field salesforce and key account managers to map out the decision makers in that drug approval process. Who are the prescribers, brand advocates, guideline makers, decision makers (both on approvals and budgets) and advisers? Who influences who, and what drives the final decision?

Then, meet those decision makers either virtually or in person, not to sell them a product or solution, but to confirm the decision-making process, understand their needs and concerns, learn what influences their decisions, and how they define value.

The next step is to develop the product’s value proposition based on that information, focusing on the attributes and outcomes relevant to that local payer. The value proposition must address the medical importance, therapeutic value, and patient benefit of the product in addition to the value it delivers for the payer and its financial impact overall.

Once the value proposition has been established, build a budget impact model, cost calculator, objection handler, value messages, and contracting tools (including product price, volume, and discounts) based on the payer archetype and profile developed.

Cost calculators and budget impact models are useful tools for all local payer meetings. If the payer is an expert in health economics, including cost effectiveness models is also recommended.


Consider Product X, which reduces complications in the intensive care unit (ICU) and has clinical trial data to prove it. Consider Payer A is a pharmacist or purchaser, who is primarily focused on reducing the ICU drug budget, while maintaining optimal care.

Then the primary message for them would be not only that Product X reduces complications but also that using Product X results in fewer drugs being required in the ICU for optimal care. Recap every payer meeting by reflecting on what went well, what could be improved, and noting any objections that need to be countered with new messages and data.

Using a centralized digital platform with powerful engagement analytics will allow the leadership and the field sales team to monitor key performance indicators and adapt and adjust digital tools quickly and easily to fit different payer profiles and their changing needs.

In an upcoming blog post, we will explain how digital tools can convey product value to payers in an accessible, interactive, and impactful manner.

Do your market access, medical affairs, and sales field teams need a value communication solution? Check out BaseCase, a “no-code” platform that enables you to visualize large complex datasets and economic models, clearly demonstrating the value of your products to key decision-makers.


About the authors

Shawn W. Bates
By: Shawn W. Bates

Shawn Bates is Vice President Global Portfolio Leader for our BaseCase stakeholder engagement platform after gaining over 20 years’ experience working across the pharmaceutical and medical device industries. Having held a variety of senior leadership positions, his expertise lies in stakeholder engagement and management in the market access and medical affairs spaces.

Pascaline Faivre, PharmD, MSc
By: Pascaline Faivre, PharmD, MSc

Pascaline Faivre (PharmD, Msc) is a Senior Director Market Access at Certara and brings 13 years of experience in Market Access and Health economics at pharmaceutical industries and consultancy groups. Pascaline has successful track record of reimbursement submissions in EU countries, product launches, and extensive knowledge of EU market Access challenges and payers requirements for drugs, medical devices and vaccines.

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