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The Active Ingredient features expert insights and commentary from leaders of ZS Associates' global pharmaceuticals practice.

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How Biopharma Companies Can Adapt to Industry Changes: Step One

Posted by Jude Konzelmann on Wed, Apr 19, 2017

Karan Dhundia co-wrote this blog post with Jude Konzelmann.

Today, commercial organizations in the biopharmaceutical industry face a number of challenges that are forcing them to adapt. The first challenge is that as their customers—the physician practices, hospitals, insurers and provider networks that deliver healthcare—have consolidated and evolved, they’ve done so in a very uneven way across geographies. This leaves healthcare delivery in Salt Lake City operating very differently from healthcare delivery in Miami, as an example.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Jude Konzelmann, biopharmaceuticals, local healthcare market, regional sales deployment, sales force deployment, karan dhundia, commercial organization design

Two Blocked Payer Mega-Mergers and the Future of the Health Insurance Market

Posted by Paul Darling on Mon, Feb 27, 2017

Just weeks ago, a looming merger between two major health insurance companies threatened to alter the health insurance market’s competitive landscape. The $54 billion deal between Anthem and Cigna was blocked by a federal judge in early February, on the same grounds as a $37 billion deal between Aetna and Humana that was blocked in January. According to the judges’ rulings, both deals would have reduced competition and increased prices.

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Topics: ZS Associates, health insurers, ZS, Pharma, Life Sciences, Humana, healthcare ecosystem, Paul Darling, payers, Anthem, Aetna, Cigna, mega-mergers, UnitedHealth Group

Designing Effective Incentive Plans for Rare Disease Teams

Posted by Michael Thomas on Mon, Feb 13, 2017

While the pharmaceutical industry is still just skimming the surface when it comes to developing therapies to address the 7,000-plus known rare diseases, drug development is only half of the battle. Organizations that have successfully gained approval for their therapies in the U.S. and abroad face significant challenges when planning their commercial efforts and developing incentive strategies for the field force. To succeed, they often have to get creative.

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Topics: sales compensation, ZS Associates, ZS, rare diseases, pharmaceuticals, Michael Thomas, incentive plans

My DC Visit Resulted in More Clarity Than Questions: Four Takeaways

Posted by Pratap Khedkar on Fri, Feb 10, 2017

Like so many millions of people—or so few, depending on whom you ask—I spent a couple of days in our nation’s capital during the Trump administration’s first week, but I wasn’t out on the National Mall with a cleverly worded sign. I was there to join other healthcare industry leaders, thought leaders and pundits as they discussed the evolving healthcare environment. I wanted to get a sense for what may be coming down the pike, and based on what I heard, it seems that the only constant is change—and pharmaceutical leaders better get ready to help shape this change. Here are four of my takeaways:

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Pratap Khedkar, Pharma, healthcare, healthcare ecosystem, ACA, Obamacare, Trump, thought leadership

How Healthcare Partnerships Are Improving Patient Health

Posted by Katherine Barcay on Wed, Feb 08, 2017

Delivering “value” has become the paramount objective of many healthcare organizations, shaping their strategic priorities and driving new collaborations. But value in healthcare is a complex, abstract concept that can take on many forms. The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC), a coalition of chief executives and other thought leaders across the healthcare industry—including ZS—has been building consensus on the best ways to deliver value through its National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation initiative (NDHI). In 2016, NDHI announced six “VIable Solutions”—priority issues that private-sector organizations and policymakers alike should address in order to help transform the healthcare delivery system. They include:

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Katherine Barcay, patient health, HLC, healthcare partnerships, digital health

Three Emerging Themes From SCOPE 2017

Posted by Qin Ye on Wed, Feb 01, 2017

As the abundance of patient data continues to grow, the healthcare industry is continuing to find innovative ways to employ it. At the eighth-annual Summit for Clinical Operations Executives (SCOPE) held Jan. 24-26, attendees from across the life sciences space gathered in Miami to discuss how this abundance of data can be used specifically to improve clinical and observational research.

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, connected health, SCOPE, clinical trial design, Qin Ye, real-world data

How SEBs Are Changing the Canadian Healthcare Market

Posted by Matt Wills on Tue, Jan 17, 2017

Subsequent entry biologics (SEBs), or biosimilars, have been making a lot of news in Canada lately. While the discussion has been happening for years already, we’ve started to see how regulatory and payer decisions are shaping this new market. We’ve recently seen payers implement coverage inconsistently (such as the “limited use” code in Ontario, mandatory substitution for new starts in British Columbia and preferential listing in some private payers), regulatory bodies update indications (Inflectra now includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis), and new products launched (etanercept and insulin glargine).

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Pharma, Biosimilars, healthcare, secondary entry biologics, Canada, Matt Wills, SEBs

How to Start Optimizing the Customer Experience Using Customer Engagement Journeys

Posted by Pete Mehr on Tue, Jan 03, 2017

In an attempt to optimize the customer experience, many pharmaceutical companies today have developed tactics and content to engage their customers through a variety of channels, like email, telesales, mobile alerts, videos, etc. Typically, these tactics are deployed to market as soon as the medical and legal teams approve them. The objective is to capture the ROI from each tactic as quickly as possible. This approach often leads to tactics being deployed to customers in an uncoordinated fashion, producing a sub-optimal customer experience. 

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Topics: customer experience, ZS Associates, ZS, Pete Mehr, Pharma, CX, customer engagement journeys

What Pharma Needs to Know About Local Healthcare Markets

Posted by Paul Darling on Fri, Dec 16, 2016


The “shop local” movement has been a mainstay in the U.S. healthcare marketplace for ages. Patients travel fewer than 30 miles for the majority of their care, which means that healthcare is consumed in local markets, each with unique characteristics, almost like small provinces. Providers are increasingly acknowledging this trend, as evidenced by the recent M&A activity of provider systems across the country. Given the pace of change, it seems that this topic warrants a closer look.  

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Topics: ZS Associates, ZS, Pharma, healthcare ecosystem, m&a, Paul Darling, pharmaceuticals, local healthcare market, sales territory alignment, LHM

Five Steps for Improving Campaigns With Customer Suggestions

Posted by Pete Mehr on Thu, Dec 15, 2016

Many pharmaceutical companies have started using customer suggestions to help improve the customer experience. Customer suggestion technologies use data science and technology to identify customer insights and generate recommended actions to take with each customer. With customer suggestions, you can proactively diagnose performance issues with your customers and tailor your communication efforts to match customer preferences and increase engagement.

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Topics: customer experience, ZS Associates, ZS, Pete Mehr, customer suggestions

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