“A successful market access strategy is a quadral win-win situation for patients, payers, physicians and pharmaceutical companies.”

60 seconds with Xin Zhao, Senior Consultant

Q: Tell us about you

A: I came to the UK around 14 years ago to study and have lived here since. My home town is a beautiful city called Xi’an, China, famous for the local delicacies and the world heritage site ‘Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor, the terracotta warriors’.

I am an end game thinker. I always wondered how the value was achieved from scientific research, so I transferred from research and development (R&D) to working in a commercial function. To me, market access is an important hinge between R&D and commercial; it links the evidence with the value, and provides more than just monetary value. As I wrote in a previous post, “market access is not just health economics and is not just price and reimbursement – it provides physicians access to a tool to help patients. It provides patients access to hope – a hope of survival.”

Outside of work, I do karate, taichi, and go to the gym to keep healthy. I also have a long travel list to be ticked off after Covid.

Q: What is your role at Lightning Health?

A: I work as a Senior Consultant at Lightning Health. My day to day consists of consulting work, building internal capability and coaching. Consulting work includes conducting targeted landscape assessments and providing quality strategic insights. I also help to build internal capacity by contributing to thought leadership and trendsetting. Coaching and giving help to other team members are also close to my heart as I believe in supporting the growth and development of the team.


Q: Tell us more about your experience of supporting clients to navigate the market access environment in China

A: Unlike traditional health technology assessment markets, in China, there are multiple stakeholders who can impact the price and reimbursement decision. Therefore a holistic approach by a cross-functional team becomes essential for a successful launch in this market. Companies must decide whether to stay in the private market or enter China’s National Reimbursement Drug List (NRDL). Although the price of a drug can remain high in the private market, the penetration to hospitals is often limited. Furthermore, variation in the affordability between regions is another factor impacting commercial viability. Entry through the NRDL is the main route for innovative medicines following the China healthcare reformation. Price negotiation during the NRDL process is very intensive and competitive, and policy in China is constantly evolving. The recent Diagnosis Related Groups/Diagnosis Intervention Packet policy announcement is another wave of changes impacting the price, reimbursement, market access dynamics and market penetration in this country. To ensure a successful launch strategy in China, an in-depth understanding of this complicated market and on-time insights to keep the strategy on-trend is required.



Article published 13 April 2022.