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Casey McDonald is Senior Editor, Pharmaceutical Executive.
Vice President, US Payer & Institutional Strategy Lead, Shire
Eric Jordan, Vice President, US Payer & Institutional Strategy Lead, Shire
Value has been a moving target for the healthcare industry. And no company has tracked the debate more intently than Shire, a standard bearer in rare disease, where big outcomes demand sizable price tags for small patient populations.
Making the case for Shire’s products and the value they bring to the healthcare system is US Payer & Institutional Strategy Lead Eric Jordan, whose team’s “remit is to best communicate the value of our products to the payer community, employer groups, institutions and channel partners. The group’s focus is helping provide healthcare providers and patients with affordable access to our medicines.”
It’s an issue that has come into focus and has seemingly “hit a critical mass over the last three to five years,” says Jordan. The consolidation of payers has left them with a greater ability to control the market, and, thus, “constantly on our mind, is their appetite to do so,” explains Jordan.
Payers have become more and more aggressive swinging their weight around in negotiations to determine the value of a treatment and the resulting formulary placement it deserves. “It’s become increasingly important for pharma to develop healthier relationships and appropriate partnerships with the payer community and to better demonstrate our value proposition,” says Jordan. He notes that payers make the dealings challenging, using tactics like larger initial asks, aggressive benefit designs and shortened timeframes in which to submit bids.
“The healthcare dollar is being squeezed from all sides,” he says. “At the same time, innovators in rare disease like Shire are bringing to market new therapies that can help those suffering from life-altering conditions. We have to find a comfort zone where payers are getting value for their healthcare expenditures and patients have affordable access to the therapies their physicians have prescribed.”
Jordan sees increased vigilance by payers in rare diseases and Shire’s advocacy on the part of these patient groups as essential for the company to be a leader in the space. As Jordan has taken on greater positions of leadership in his own career, he has seen the importance of team building, communication and dedication-having patients at the core of everything he does.
Starting out “carrying the bag,” it would appear that Jordan’s ascent up the corporate ladder may have followed the quintessential pharma path. He enjoyed day-to-day contact with physicians and had a strong ability to gain his customers’ trust, even though he self-identifies as “more reserved than the typical sales person.” Jordan followed his success as a rep and regional manager located in Charleston, SC, and then Orlando into a business operations position as director of sales force effectiveness, relocating to Philadelphia. Here he was able to combine his love for leading teams with a passion for diving deep into analytics. Jordan’s subsequent titles included: Southeast zone director, director of government marketing and director of global market access-neuroscience business unit.
Along the way, Jordan credits establishing and leading teams with strong analytics capabilities and executive function to prioritize and complete tasks under pressure. Hiring well is clearly a vital part of building one’s own success, he says. “I look for individuals with optimistic attitudes, a drive for achievement, initiative, and a tremendous work ethic being essential.” Experience is secondary, as it’s more important to be able to learn. “We set high expectations, and make a point to recognize and publicly reward achievement.”
For Jordan’s team at home, the journey has included six moves, for which he credits a very understanding wife who has the uncanny ability to adapt and thrive in new environments, having never met a stranger. “She is the life of the party and makes friends faster than most,” he says.
With the most recent move, Jordan and his family of four are adjusting to suburban Boston. While adapting to the new city and the northern climes, Jordan remains active in his church, and coaching his son’s sports teams. Such participation has been a positive way for him and his family to develop ties in the community. As a measure of consistency during his move to New England, he continues to manage Shire’s golf league, which he feels allows for deeper relationship building, occurring outside of the Hayden Ave. office. As an envoy from the south, Jordan brings a love of BBQ to a region in need. He and his son’s shared dream, if this pharma thing doesn’t work out, would be to open their own BBQ joint, called BBQ Brothers.
- Casey McDonald