Access Group

A “significant” year is how The Access Group’s president and CEO, Dave Gagliano, describes his agency’s 2013. In an industry not known for understatement, this seems like a positively bland adjective to describe a year in which The Access Group added 34 accounts, doubled its bottom line, and experienced a large bounce in management consulting revenue. The agency added new clients Anacor Pharmaceuticals, Astellas Pharma US, BioMarin Pharmaceutical, Celgene, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Patheon, Amgen (including Onyx), and Salix Pharmaceuticals; earned organic growth from standing clients Merck, Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, Teva and Vertex; and saw its promotional subdivision MedAccess launch ReGenica Day and Overnight Repair, Hydrate Luxe, Gentle Rejuvenation, and Obagi360 for Obagi Medical Products. Significant, indeed.

Playing a, well, significant role in all this was The Access Group’s management consulting division, Promidian. Demand for Promidian’s services was so strong that the agency added five new staff members and opened an office in San Francisco. “In 2013, we experienced growth in several areas, namely on the consulting and prelaunch phase of drug development, with numerous projects gained by Promidian in the area of management consulting,” Gagliano says.

Not surprisingly for the leader of an organization born from the consolidation of many smaller and more specialized businesses, Gagliano believes that consolidation is going to be the key to the future for the industry’s marketing agencies.

“A number of macro themes continue to pervade the healthcare industry, including but not limited to the patent cliff, ongoing global economic stagnation, and lack of capital expenditure investment, challenging big pharma pipelines that are not producing innovative products and the realization of the ACA now in full adoption mode, which is putting further pressure on cost containment strategies. All of this has led big pharma to consolidate and pay up for innovation in the oncology and specialty product areas and the resulting multiples on biotech companies have reached stratospheric levels. As the pharma industry consolidates, so too will the service providers to the industry.”

What’s next? Continued investment in interactive and digital applications and offerings, a new initiative into the long-term care space, continued investment in the fast-growing and highly profitable management consulting segment, and another new initiative to move further into specialty and oncology on the agency side. “A large percentage of our success in penetrating specialty and oncology has been through our Promidian entity, so we’re looking to further drive into this space by leveraging our success with Promidian to other parts of the firm,” Gagliano says. The agency has also made strides in the digital area and in building the latest interactive technologies into training and selling solutions for managed markets clients.

Long-term care is a priority for the agency’s leaders. “We see tremendous opportunity (in long-term care) as this is an untapped area of the distribution channel; the high level of frailty and unique environment among long-term care residents forces a significant demand for pharmaceuticals,” Gagliano says. “There are approximately 16,100 nursing homes with an approximate aggregate 1.7 million beds with an average stay of 835 days—this is a captive audience for prescription products where adherence and compliance to drug regimens are virtually 100% and co-pays are extremely low or in some cases non-existent.”