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Pharmaceutical Outcome Research and Policy Question

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Pharmaceutical Outcome Research and Policy Question

Postby ADM » Sat Feb 21, 2015 11:04 am

After a PhD and postdoctoral experience (in Pharmaceutical and basic science), I am gravitating towards "Outcome research and policy" field. Does anyone have experience/ opinion if this is a sane move? I understand I would need to go back to school for minimum of 2 years, but I presume (naively) it might be a career move worth considering. I would like to step away from benchwork since I do not see improvement in the conditions of postdocs in near future.
ADM
 
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Re: Pharmaceutical Outcome Research and Policy Question

Postby D.X. » Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:21 pm

Hi ADM,

I am responsible for integrating HEOR programs from our Payer Government Affairs department into our Int'l Marketing plans - I will respond more next week.

Assuming you are US focused? I'm at Global (ex US) level. So maybe some one else can give the US landscape view , but it's a good path to be on with need for expertise.

Stay tuned until I get some time next week.

DX
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Re: Pharmaceutical Outcome Research and Policy Question

Postby ADM » Mon Feb 23, 2015 9:02 am

Thanks D.X.,

I look forward to you response/ advice. And yes, I am currently US focused.

ADM
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Re: Pharmaceutical Outcome Research and Policy Question

Postby D.X. » Wed Feb 25, 2015 2:35 pm

Hi ADM,

From a Global level view this is a sane area to look at. Over the past few years there has been alot of growing focus in this area within Pharmaceutical Companies and also at Government and NGO level. With increasing resource restriction (i.e. Budget, Health care Services) there is alot of emphasis on outcomes research, with Policy level advocacy and action as one of access point.

When it comes to pharmaceutical products, Payers (the budget holders or allocators at national such as ministries of health and local levels such as hospitals) have interests beyond efficacy and safety data when determing if they pay for a product and how much they are willing to pay. Consider outside US most payer decisions (reimbursement) are taken at Govt level and whilst where the product is used can be determined at local pharmacy/hospital/retaul level depending on impact to budget. That being said more than ever, Payers want to know how much? Whats my budget impact? And...where is cost savings?

Enter Pharmaceutical Outcomes research. For pharmaceutical companies this is a key function necessary to drive the business forward. A physician may want to prescribe a drug, but they cant because they have no access or the patient has no access - maybe its not reimbursed, maybe its not in hospital formulary due to price, etc etc so this is a key role in getting patient access to product. Its possible budget holders many not be aware of disease burden and costs associated with it. They may not be away of burden of suboptimal treatment options and associate cost impact or the potential upside a product may bring to health resourse unitilzation, same goes for HCPs. And because of these barriers this is why Outcomes Research is integrated into varoius cross-functional teams in Pharma. No access, no business. The Value for Medicine Story is needed and it has to be sound.

From Govt level, they neect evaluate if the product is worth paying for so they do thier own research or they need the evidence. It can be blurred with Health Economics but they do thier Outcomes Research as well. At the Policy level, in order to drive change from that direction, you need the evidence so quite often you find the two groups very tightly linked, in my company the Policy guys are in same team as the Outcomes/HE guys. They guys are the ones who are often on the front line with a ministry of health negotiating reimbursement, pricing, coverage decisions.

So very sane spot to go, there is need for well qualified folks abd there is stability. But do know many are entering this area. These teams tend to be snaller and hiighly outsoursed so be attentive to that (not a bad thing but be aware). This can be high stress as well, one of my colleagues has to do talks in Saudi Arabia and reimbusement discussion in Morocco next week, face to face. Alot of accountability in terms of securing and maintaing drug pricing as well (via the Outcomes or Value Story), all this in a world of pricing pressures resulting in price erosion - so be attentive to that. But sucesses can be big and very tangible - win reimbursement in Brazil or land major hospital account. As examples.

This is also ever changing field, what was hot yesterday, may not be so hot today, not to mention the different needs of countries, even down to local level - what may work in say Campagnia province Italy, may not be as relvant in Lazio region in Italy. So lots of flexibility is needed. From the US view, landscape is different but approaches can be similar.

Its high science, data driven field - and you get to be a major major major part of getting a drug to a bedside by the data that is delivered. Happy to adress any other questions!

Dx
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Re: Pharmaceutical Outcome Research and Policy Question

Postby ADM » Wed Feb 25, 2015 11:41 pm

Thanks D.X. for giving such a wonderful overview of the field. In your experience, does having a PhD in the field better than MS. Assuming that PhD would take 2-3 years more than MS, do you think having an PhD increases the job prospects (compare to MS and getting 2 year work experience during the same time)?

Thanks
ADM
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Re: Pharmaceutical Outcome Research and Policy Question

Postby D.X. » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:40 am

Hi ADM,

All I can say is that most HEOR Folks I've met have held PhDs - either in a life science field or epidemiology.

However, I don't believe not having a Ph.D. is a barrier. There is just a high concentration of PhDs, most who are like us - ended up in a non-academic path -HEOR was the path they chose.

One of the most credible and marketable OR/Policy guys I know holds a MS in the biologic sciences as his first degree and from there he built his OR knowledge, a mix of formal Training and Company experience. Some hold MBAs as well, as in his case. In my opinion, one really Needs to be well rounded for career advancement, so development is continous here. (like anywhere else, but from what i see, this is an area where one must really keep adding on the skills/knolwedge proactively).

In this field its definitely about experience,, expertise and demonstrated successes - so good Training experience is necessary, beyond the class-room. When I was in the US, i remember Tufts in Boston was taking a leading role here (I took a course there on Heatlh-economics, , some of this HEOR is newer in the US market compared to rest of world.

That being said, if you have not started a PhD yet, and you think this is a path you want to follow, perhaps its best you explore getting on this path sooner rather than later - the science back ground is definately key (this is about data-generation after all) - a good math and statistic Background is good to have , plus some financial/economics knowledge, it is possilbe a MBA can be helpful as well. You will be working with large data-sets, playing with numbers and various models depending on the Projects.

So I reocmmend you pick up the phone and start calling some experts - talk to some schoools and take your decision then.

Good luck.

DX
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