Ashfield wants to change the perception of CSOs and their role within pharma

Ashfield wants to change the perception of CSOs and their role within pharma. Many clients still perceive us as a ‘contract sales organisation’ where I would like it to stand for ‘contracted services organisation’ based on our wide range of service offerings including salesforce, patient solutions and multichannel capabilities, which can all be tailored towards the best possible outcome for all clients.

Our environment is changing rapidly and is also much more differentiated in terms of local CCG needs and formulary positions, hence the requirement for an even more flexible, agile and specifically built offering that addresses these demands. Commercial teams need to be more astute at acquiring, interpreting and circulating data to inform a more nuanced approach – ultimately this information will influence the approach that we can put together and allow us to allocate budgets and scaling according to what is working and in which markets and localities. This is a service that more advanced CSOs can offer.

The healthcare environment moves quickly – companies are under increasing pressure to deliver. Ten years ago, they had two-year lead times to launch a product and build a customer-base. Now, they’ve often got less than 12 months from licensing to launch. Because of the environment, pharma companies need more than just sales teams to launch a product and the setup may well change and need to adapt within this 12-month window. The result is that demand on third-parties such as Ashfield is higher – we must be more responsive, quicker and offer the scale and breadth of offering to meet this demand.

When partnering with pharma companies, the only way to get to an offering that is optimally resourced and designed is to engage early with all clients about their objectives and strategy. We can then look at these, discuss them and create more targeted plans – we have a we have a plethora of insights and years of experience.

Regardless of the product, making a difference for our clients and their patients – and working with a passionate and proud team that is dedicated to positively impacting the lives of people living with a disease – is very rewarding. That is what makes me want to come to work every day. I love my job and it’s great to know that we play a part.

Pierre van Weperen is managing director of Ashfield Commercial and Ashfield Patient Solutions in the UK