Market Access – an orchestra

Do you know your „primus inter pares“?

“Market Access” is a term that has accompanied us for many years in the fields of medical devices, medical technology and pharmaceuticals. People who hold such a position are given a lot of responsibility and, above all, a large area of competency.

In recent years, we have been able to learn about the most diverse variants of market access in many companies and today ask ourselves the question: Is market access really a department within a company in the true sense of the word or is it not much more an objective that is consistently pursued by several departments within a company? And what is the best way to ensure success?

We have an idea and would be happy to share it with you in today’s article.

Market Access Managers design and accompany the implementation of drugs and medical products from the development stage. The Market Access Manager has a sound knowledge of the political-legal framework as well as the strategic-organizational processes and structures. They master the effective use of market access instruments“ is what they say on the Internet.

Let us assume that a company sells its products in different risk classes (I – III) worldwide in more than 100 countries, for example. Does the above-mentioned requirement for a Market Access Manager still correspond to reality? Is the knowledge required in such a case to be provided by an individual or by an individual department in the required quality?

At this point, let us continue to pursue the idea that different specialist departments play a part in the strategic „market access“ achievement. The question then arises as to who can make a meaningful contribution with which core competence in order to achieve this defined corporate objective.

Where do we want to go?

That’s how long Research & Development has worked on it – and now it’s finally here: the new product!

Everyone is proud, the tests have been successful, now revenue should be made with it and not too little.

Where should it be sold? „Worldwide“ is often the first answer, because a good turnover should be made and this, as far as possible, in all markets in order to be well positioned.

Does the demand for the new product really exist in all markets worldwide or can it be aroused equally worldwide?

Many years ago, the automotive industry provided a very good example of this. It was assumed that automobiles with air-conditioning would be equally in demand in all markets and would conquer the markets worldwide.

One fact had not been considered in advance and had not been taken into account either. The Koreans, for example, have a different genetic transpiration behaviour in comparison to the European. As a result, demand in the Korean market for air-conditioned cars was not as high as expected. The industry had not been aware about this circumstance and had not considered it in their strategy. Therefor costly and time-consuming strategic changes had to be made in the game already underway.

That could have been avoided.

Marketing – can do more than brochures and event planning!

Many companies recognized it for themselves many years ago and also use the strategic potential of marketing.

Needs assessments and market analyses are well-known keywords in this category.

Strategic marketing opens up the possibility of evaluating and analysing the markets in advance with the aid of targeted market analyses.

Even if you do not want to exclude any market due to your company strategy, you can always prioritize your market access based on the results and thus ensure an orderly and often also more cost-effective procedure.

Unfortunately, some important market data often remain closed to marketing, as further sources of access and, if necessary, further specialist skills are required to understand them. This requires close cooperation with other in-house departments, which we would like to show up in the following.

Reimbursement – the costs are covered?

The financial situation in the health care system has worsened considerably in many countries in recent years. The expenses by the health insurance providers are rising steadily, while the reimbursement of medical care is not rising in parallel.

This is due, among other things, to our average age increase and the associated increase in cost-intensive old-age illnesses, as well as to the constantly improving development of medical technology and pharmaceutical care, which require more expensive reimbursement in line with developments.

Thus the question always arises for the medical user of a medical device before purchase: Is the treatment method already shown in the reimbursement system and how is it financially represented? Are the expenses covered by this or can other cost drivers be reduced by this treatment method?

The answer to this is usually provided by health economists, most of whom can be found in the company’s Health Economics & Reimbursement department.

With the help of suitable tools, it is possible to evaluate in advance for each country how the treatment method presents itself with the new product in the respective, country-specific reimbursement system and how often this method is already used and for which diagnoses – valuable information, especially in the context of pricing, in order to position oneself attractively in the market for the user.

Confidence is good – control is better!

Many medical device scandals have afflicted medicine in recent years and so it is absolutely understandable that patient safety is a high imperative today.

The authorities are trying to take care of this with the help of Medical Device Regulation (MDR), among other things. But also the user as such is now often in the individual responsibility to go into discussion and test. Every clinic also wants to avoid incidents with medical devices

In any case, such evidence is now mandatory in order to get orderly access to the market.

The range extends from case studies to randomized controlled trials (RCT) and, as before, a mature strategic consideration is needed as to which level of evidence to choose.

The experts from the Clinical Affairs department evaluate the available data, check it and, once a decision has been made, proceed to implementation in order to ensure the required studies and evidence in the correct form at national and international level.

Directives and standards – is that necessary?

This can be answered relatively easily: yes, this must be the case for successful market access. And luckily, almost every company has a department that is familiar with it.

Regulatory Affairs generally ensures that the approval requirements of the individual countries in the company are known and complied with.

They collect, often in cooperation with quality management, the documents required for approval and submit them to the country-specific authorities.

They are also responsible for the administration and application of any necessary codes within the framework of approval and are always in close contact with the national and international authorities.

Regulatory Affairs often concludes the market access process in a company with the successful admission of the product to one or more markets and thus makes the product available to the sales department for active sale.


Today we have given you a brief overview of the possible participants of the „market access“ orchestra and perhaps some food for thought on the question of which instruments you would like to have in your „market access“ orchestra in the future.

In our experience, we are convinced that each individual knows its instrument and can play it very well to excellently. However, it only becomes something great when it is played together with many different instruments: A successful concert!

In our view, even the desired market access does not lie with an individual or a single department. It is the cooperation of the various departments that ensures successful market access for a new product.

Where many people play together, however, there should also be a „primus inter pares“ that ensures cooperation.

In the orchestra, the first violin set the tone as „primus inter pares“, coordinated the tuning as well as the leaving of the stage.

It is up to you who you choose as your „primus inter pares“ in the „market access“ concert. From our experience, however, someone should play the first violin to ensure that everyone involved is in the right mood.

Start today and bring your departments together – optimise your market access strategy with the help of different perspectives and secure your company’s future success.

We wish you much success and are at your disposal with our experience and ideas for your questions and wishes.

We look forward to our next contact at or by calling +49 40 300 687 480.

About „use it AG“

As an independent partner, „use it AG“ combines industry-specific know-how and focuses on the disruptive innovation of existing business models, products, technologies and services.

The company is focussing on the digitization of the organizational structure and the development of new solutions in an increasingly challenging digital world, taking into account human performance.

The references include international corporations, major medium-sized companies, important organizations such as cooperatives, associations, societies and institutions of public law.

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