Mikelle Middleton is a vice president of strategic solutions at MMIT. She partners with pharma manufacturers to deliver our shared vision of providing clarity on the patient access pathway for life-saving treatments. Day to day, Middleton maximizes client value by ensuring alignment with all key stakeholders at large pharmaceutical organizations and answering the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of market access.
Q: What brought you to the health care industry and to MMIT?
A: Many of my colleagues describe my background as interesting and diverse when compared to most individuals in market access, pharma or even health care. For the first 10 years of my career, I was in marketing and global business leadership roles within the chemical industry, which allowed me the opportunity to travel the world. I eventually made the switch from chemicals to pharmaceuticals due to my desire to be in health care. At AstraZeneca, I gravitated toward market access because it was a B2B (business-to-business) environment, which I was accustomed to. In each of these roles, the part that I valued the most was working with customers to improve utilization and consumption of the product or solution that I brought to the table to genuinely add value. This made the move to MMIT natural.
What interested me most about MMIT was the opportunity to leverage the market access expertise I developed in pharma but, more importantly, it provided me a better way to have a direct impact. I went from being one of 70 regional account directors to one of five strategic account managers at MMIT. I wanted to play offense, not defense, and this high-growth organization afforded me the ability to do that.
Q: What are some of the common challenges of your role?
A: Market access is complex and the patient pathway to treatment is more and more challenging every day as the market evolves, new targeted and life-saving therapies are introduced and more competitors are providing competing alternative treatment options (which is great news for patients!). A common challenge for me is ensuring that we are supporting the market access needs around this complexity at the individual client stakeholder level. In my role, I strive to ensure that we are reaching and providing value to all of the relevant client stakeholders, which is not an insignificant challenge with large pharma manufacturers.
Q: What’s the biggest victory that you’ve had at MMIT?
A: I measure success by the number of clients that renew and expand our business relationship, because I know that we’ve earned the right to continue these critical partnerships. It means we’ve been successful in meeting their market access needs in this complex environment. To me, it is as simple as that and it’s the end game of everything I do.
What key market access shifts are you forecasting, and how is MMIT uniquely positioned to help?
Every day, I have multiple clients reaching out to me and asking for help when it comes to the COVID-19 global pandemic. They have some real challenges with how they are running and reporting on their business in these unprecedented times. They don’t know how many patients are going to shift from commercial insurance to Medicaid, as an example. Each of these shifts impact their forecasting, whether they are looking at prescription volume or the bottom-line financials. They want to know what insurers are doing when it comes to covering medicines and their overall perception of patient access. Our access to the majority of payer decision-makers through our panel and our trusted framework around covered lives data through a multitude of inputs is what helps uniquely position MMIT to support these pharma clients.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: I love working directly with clients to solve complicated challenges. Being in a room together face-to-face building relationships and a foundation of trust is the key human element behind what I do. I love diving into what’s working and what’s not so that we can continue to improve our partnership together. I’m an extrovert and I like people, so our current work-from-home environment is hard for me. I am energized by client interactions, so I’m making the most out of our virtual meetings for the time being!
Q: What do you like to do outside of work?
A: I think that any working mom could relate to my answer to this question, “What hobbies? Hello? My kids!” In all seriousness, my family and my children are very much where I spend my time outside of MMIT. We have a strategy in our house to always keep our kids busy which, in turn, keeps us busy. I spend a lot of time on the sidelines of volleyball, lacrosse and soccer matches. As I mentioned before, I am an extrovert and so is my husband, Matt, and my entire family. We really enjoy hosting dinner parties, which we try to do as often as possible to socialize and spend time with the people that we care about. Given the current events, this is a bit challenging right now, so we are really look forward to getting through everything together.
by Brooke McDonald