Why It’s Time To Swipe Right And Pick Life Sciences As A Partner

2022-06-08 |  Su Jones

Integrated Care systems. 

July sees the new 2022 Health and Social Care act legislative changes coming into operation. Whether its Integrated Care Boards deciding how the budgets are spent or the Integrated Care Partnership bringing providers, commissioners, and local authorities together to collectively plan health and care services to meet the needs of their local population. The ambition is simple, to deliver health and care that reflects not only our needs today but for the future. Competition is old, and collaboration is in, and Integrated Care Systems' (ICS) need positive, disruptive thinking from the global industry to reach their ambitions. Building relationships between Industry and ICS is vital, and having your teams equipped with the right skills will be the game-changer.

The burning platform. 

Health inequalities are the avoidable and unjust differences in people’s health, and between groups of people, and they are growing. According to the Marmott review 10 years on, the amount of time people spend in poor health has increased across England since 2010. Three-quarters of older people in the UK – 9.4 million people – are worried about the rising cost of living, according to new research for Age UK. Generally, individuals with lower socioeconomic status experience worse overall health, higher levels of morbidity, and more premature mortality, which are particularly relevant in older adults*. COVID-19 has not helped, the COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate effect on specific communities, and the equity gap has widened. If that was not enough reason to act now, according to Civitas International HealthCare Outcomes Index published in 2022, for every 100,000 people in the UK in 2019, on average, sixty-nine people died of a treatable disease, the 15th lowest rate of 16 countries. 

Two important factors, though often mixed up, are at play - inequity and inequality. Inequity refers to unfair and avoidable inequalities that are not inevitable or natural but the product of human behaviour. Inequality, on the other hand, simply refers to the uneven distribution of resources. Solving these requires collaboration across communities to address access to services, speeding up time to diagnosis and rapid early intervention to highlight a few. 

Can Industry be part of the solution? 

Notable examples of collaboration during the pandemic include how Industry collaborated with regulatory authorities to approve vaccines in record times. Another example was the NHS's first securing of a commercial deal for Inclisiran, as an opportunity to find and treat a large population affected by cardiovascular disease, helping to ensure maximum value from the NHS budget for new medicines. The Government Life Science Vision (2021) spelt out the importance of the NHS being an innovation partner "We want to deliver the medicines, technologies and tools that enable NHS staff to care and treat more effectively, with 'right first-time' diagnosis and treatment and the capacity to partake in research and innovation".

Why haven't Life Science companies nailed it? 

Our research tells us that this is usually one of two reasons - capability and capacity. Historically, Life Sciences companies could navigate their way around issues with transactional relationships, so there was not the need to build strategic partnership working capabilities. Companies produced medicines that displaced others or required little to no reform from Health systems to support uptake. Consequently, organisational structures were not always set up to support cross-functional strategic decisions across the organisation's value chain. The other reason is capacity, while operating models are evolving, the existing workforce is prioritised to deliver immediate revenue challenges. 

Why work with PEN Partnership. 

Relying on transactional approaches is unlikely to get you around the health and care system access and uptake challenges you face. Innovative new medicines and technologies will require new delivery models and a different operating model for Life Science companies. Diffusing uptake from novel commercial arrangements is challenging. From the point of strategic decision-making to integration into health ecosystems, PEN can help you create a value-based and sustainable company that delivers the experiences and outcomes people want. Our goal is to work with you to be a true partner, with health ecosystems in such key challenges as supporting the reduction of health inequalities.

Our subject matter expertise is in establishing and operationalising strategic level partnerships. We have experience identifying and building solution specific partnerships and capability in ongoing partnership management. Our organisational maturity assessment can help you understand where you are now and enable us to co-create, with you, a roadmap to build your organisational maturity together. We have tools to enable successful partnerships by ensuring you have principles to guide design, frameworks to assess value, and case studies to take key learnings from. Finally, to go beyond advisory boards to establish expert partnerships, where you all have skin in the game, to define and deliver health ecosystem solutions together. 

So, it is now or never. 

Legislation is in place for health and care partnerships and the success of those will need the positive disruption Industry will bring. Patients’ expectations are high and addressing health inequalities is a primary health and government policy focus. New data from APCO Worldwide suggests that the momentous industry-wide effort during COVID-19 has impacted public perception; 52% of those surveyed were two times more likely to feel positively toward the industry thanks to its response to the pandemic than a year earlier. We are pushing at an open door. One last point of note is that the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry Code of Practice changed in 2021 with a new clause 20 to support collaborative working.

So, the question is, "How ready are your people? Both to know who to engage with in ICS, and to be a positive disruptor?"

*Acciai F. The age pattern of social inequalities in Health at older ages: are common measures of socio-economic status interchangeable? Public Health. (2018) 157:135–41. doi: 10.1016/j.puhe.2018.01.002

Get in Touch

Su Jones has led strategic partnership projects involving the NHS, Academia, Biopharmaceuticals, Top 10 Pharma companies and more. She has experience leading strategic novel partnerships at the UK's ABPI and is a recognised thought leader within the Life Sciences strategic partnership space. 

If you'd like to find out more about developing Life Science partnerships with PEN, you can contact Su on LinkedIn. Just click this link.