You’ve showered your pharmaceutical sales representatives with training on disease, treatment, and account planning to help them be successful selling their product to customers. They’re confident explaining mechanisms of action, reciting clinical data, and stating warnings and precautions. But are you recognizing the value of keeping your sales team informed about the challenges that healthcare providers (HCPs) and patients face in terms of access and reimbursement for prescription drugs? It’s important to ensure that your sales team receives the “other” training: an overview of the journey of the drug from the manufacturer to the patient, along with a discussion of key payors, costs associated with steps of the journey, and how HCPs and patients are reimbursed for those costs.
HCPs are facing obstacles when prescribing drugs for their patients. For their insured patients, they want to feel confident that the prescriptions they write will be approved by payors. And for all patients, HCPs are increasingly concerned with whether patients will be able to afford the prescription and will thus adhere to their prescribed therapy; this is particularly true for specialty drugs due to their high cost.
To better assist customers, is your sales force able to speak to:
- Who are the key healthcare payors?
- What is the difference between the medical benefit and the pharmacy benefit?
- How are specialty pharmacies different than retail and mail order pharmacies?
- Who are the key players that impact the costs of drugs for insurers, such as pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)?
- What other strategies do payors employ to manage patient access to prescription drugs?
- What services do pharmaceutical Hubs typically offer?
- What financial assistance programs or information may be available to eligible patients?
A sales team that understands how prescription drugs are distributed and dispensed and the implications associated with how the prescription is submitted can use this knowledge to help HCPs and other office staff navigate through hurdles that come along after the prescription is written. In addition, awareness of the programs and assistance that specialty pharmacies and pharmaceutical Hubs usually offer to HCPs and patients will give your sales team information that they can pass on to those customers which will, in turn, help customers assist their patients with access to their prescribed drug.
There are a multitude of training platforms you can use to outfit your sales team with access and reimbursement training. You can start by offering a self-study online module that provides an overview of the key concepts and terminology. Follow up with a virtual classroom training (VCT) to share more relevant information that is specific to your product(s). Then it might be time for a live workshop that gives your team an opportunity to practice verbalizing information to customers in a compliant manner. And because the reimbursement landscape is continuously changing, remember that it will be important to continue to offer informative, up-to-date training in varied ways to make your team aware of industry changes and trends as they relate to patient access to their prescribed drugs.
Take your sales team’s training beyond the sale of the product and into the realm of access and reimbursement.