e&a consultants looks back at 2023: new team, new platform, new laws

The year 2023 has been full of changes for e&a consultants. The team has expanded, the website has received a make-over, and the office has been upgraded. But what was their most significant achievement in 2023? And what are the challenges to come? Managing director Johan Eykens shares his review of the past year and reveals his expectations for 2024. 

How has e&a consultants grown in the past year?

‘In more ways than I can count. (laughs) We're now joined by two junior consultants, Michel and Chloé, an office assistant and a freelance consultant, Jean-Marie, who helped us establish a foothold in the Netherlands.

To accommodate a larger team, we took the next big step and signed a lease for a new office at the MeetDistrict in Diegem. Having that space and this team allows us to invest more time in our existing partnerships while also having the staffing to service new clients.

And finally, we launched our Real World Evidence platform in 2023. Already, we have concluded projects successfully using it. Currently, we are looking at how the platform can be used more widely by our clients.’

Are there any particular events or achievements in the past year of which you're proud?

‘This summer, we reached a true milestone. Since 2018, when I first started working with a team, we submitted our 100th reimbursement dossier. That means that per year, we submit an average of 20 dossiers. That's not bad at all. Moreover, our dossiers have a success rate of around 85%. That's higher than the rate published by the NIHDI for successful reimbursement dossiers for innovative medicine, which is below 80%. We can proudly say that we beat the benchmark.

Additionally, we noticed that the application forms for Mediprices were changed based on our input. We discovered some inconsistencies when using them and passed on suggestions to the pricing department of the FPS economy. We were happy to see that they've incorporated our feedback into the new design.’

“All in all, we're proud of our work in 2023. Without going into detail, we succeeded in renewing or obtaining a reimbursement for medicines crucial to the care of Belgian patients and heavily requested by treating physicians. That's the essence of e&a consultants' mission.” – Johan Eykens

What governmental decisions or legislations do you expect to influence the pharmaceutical industry in 2024?

‘A few days ago, a roadmap designed by Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke was approved by the Council of Ministers to modernise the reimbursement procedure. It should make it easier for patients to access medicine. We're excited to see it take effect and are looking forward to incorporating it into our workflow.

Another legislation we're expecting is an update of the royal decree on the prices of medicines. This decree might alter how prices are allocated or increased. For pharma companies, that's a crucial decision that could work to their advantage or disadvantage. Luckily, we're well-prepared for any changes through our contacts with the competent authorities.

And finally, on a European level, a new EU Health Technology Assessment Regulation has been enacted. We'll learn more about how that will translate into Belgian practice this year. The changes it implicates will affect all local pharma consultants in Europe. We're certainly keeping an ear to the ground for that one.’

Looking back at e&a consultants’ journey in the past year, what advice would you give SMEs or start-ups who want to grow? 

‘If you have the means to hire new staff, take the time to train and prepare them so they become profitable as soon as possible. The importance of onboarding cannot be understated. In my opinion, you hire for attitude and train for knowledge. In 2023, we very consciously invested in our onboarding process with a joint start-up training for our three new hires. And already, we're reaping the results.’

Finally, what goals have you set for yourself privately and professionally in 2024?

‘On a personal level, I want to spend more time with my family consciously. That's why I plan on taking a long family vacation later this year. But I'm confident my team is strong enough to take over the reins for a while. Another resolution is that I want to cycle more. I've signed up for a bicycle race, the Maratona dles Dolomites, on 7 July. That will be a tough challenge. Please think of me then. (laughs)

Professionally, we are planning to go on a workcation with the team. The plan is to go to sunny Italy in April for a week to gain a fresh perspective on e&a consultants strategy and to deepen the team bond with delicious Italian pasta and wine. Finally, our one consistent goal this year and many to come is to continue bringing medicine to the market for patients who urgently need it.’

Do you need support in market access to bring your medicine to the Benelux pharmaceutical market? Our consultants can support you every step of the way. 

e&a consultants looks back at 2023: new team, new platform, new laws

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