INTRODUCTION: In the pharmaceutical industry in recent times, call centre costs for PAP, Access and Reimbursement services have risen consistently due to high volume of transactions(for branded drugs PAP volumes have gone dramatically high since 2007) and addition of new products to the service line. Many of today’s PAP, Access and Reimbursement call centre services are designed and administered by third-party companies working in partnership with the drug manufacturers. Big pharma is in the process of bringing down call centre costs and have started outsourcing less critical activities to third party services for economies of Scale
CURRENT SCENARIO: Continuing growth in outsourcing activity of the pharmaceutical industry for PAP, Access and Reimbursement services is seen but they are primarily for documentation and tactical requirements. However pharmaceuticals are continuously looking for alternate strategies to leverage and cost savings opportunities to reduce call centre costs by leveraging scale and operational efficiencies Big pharma has mostly outsourced their call centre activities for the above mentioned functions for economies of scale and centralized monitoring whereas biopharmaceuticals companies are likely to insource most of their activities with respect to PAP, Access and Reimbursement, REMS services as they do not want it to affect the brand perception of the customers.
Vendor Consolidations Vendor consolidation, being brand driven, would help to retain control over call centre services. Big Pharma and Biopharma companies are moving to single vendor consolidating all the activities for better coordination between PAP and Access and Reimbursement services. In terms of technology and recording, vendor consolidation reduces overhead costs due to factors such as lesser recording portals and reduces the number of staff handling calls.
MOVING FORWARD: In next 2-3 years pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical industry will witness growth of call centre hubs which will be centrally managed either by brand/therapeutic area wise or across brands. It is anticipated that Pharma and biopharma will have a centralized hub for each of these disease/therapeutic area for PAP, Access and Reimbursement services.
PAP: PAP has a stronger chance to be consolidated and centralized .Although PAP consolidation has started happening, consolidation has not yet started for reimbursement since reimbursement processes are more complex and big pharma and biopharma do not want it to affect the brand perception of the customers.
Access and Reimbursement: Reimbursement deals with higher cost and speciality drugs. Reimbursement programs demand more expertise on therapeutic areas and their coverage and hence agents need to be very well trained. Due to this, reimbursement is not yet commoditized
REMS : In the pharmaceutical industry, Risk Maps (Risk Minimization Action Plans) are now being replaced by REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies) an integrated program that meets REMS requirements while still providing access to reimbursement support and clinical assistance. However these programs have become so common that increasingly, manufacturers are putting program elements in place even when not required to do so by the FDA.
With more and more individualized services being centralized and consolidated, tremendous growth in outsourcing of PAP, Access and Reimbursement services is observed in a span of 2 years
OUTLOOK AND CONCLUSION:
No single company consolidates all call center activities since it is too big a challenge and currently there is no movement towards that direction.
Consolidation is happening at the program level like PAP and reimbursement services, aiming at economies of scale and higher cost savings .Also buyers are moving towards Vendor consolidation to leverage reduced overhead costs and towards more centralized control.
On the whole pharma and Biopharma are trying to create Centers of Excellence for PAP, Access and Reimbursement services at best possible cost without affecting customer’s perception about the brand.
Publish Date: October 18, 2011 7:50 AM