“I came to Australia from England in 1997 just to see what it was like. I felt like going off and doing something new and it was a life-changing event. I saw a job I could do and left my family and friends in England.”
She’s now an Australian citizen, married and a mother.
“I also applied to study at Oxford on a whim. I was from the north of England, which doesn’t exactly have strong ties with either Oxford or Cambridge. I had applied to other universities too and was undecided what to do until I got the offer of a place at Oxford. I accepted immediately and never regretted it.”
Janet studied physiology, which she says was the best science subject to choose because it had the least contact hours. It gave her time for rowing, although she says she wasn’t good enough to represent Oxford in its annual battle with Cambridge.
Before she began as a consultant with Commercial Eyes in 2008, Janet worked in ‘big pharma’ for 15 years. Having gained nine years experience in regulatory affairs in Europe and Australia, Janet felt like a new challenge. She could see that health economics was a growing employment opportunity so she completed a Graduate Certificate in Pharmoeconomics at Monash University. She then worked in Health Outcomes and Pricing at GlaxoSmithKline for six years before taking the step into consulting.
Janet now works for Commercial Eyes, helping companies gain funding for medicines and devices.
“We offer a range of services to our clients, depending on their needs. For example, we can deliver a full PBAC submission, including strategy development, submission writing and management through the evaluation process. On the other hand, we can provide specialist services to clients who have their own in-house capabilities, but who need help through a busy time.”
Janet says she has enjoyed her consulting career much more than she thought she would. She says Commercial Eyes has a large variety of projects, offering a quick turnover of jobs.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy coming to work. It’s the freedom of being a consultant; people have issues they can’t resolve themselves and you can be creative in the solutions you offer them. I worked for a long time in big pharma and while you are challenged to be creative, corporate culture can often get in way of that. Working with a smaller team means you can turn off the “corporate filter” and offer left of field solutions.”
She has also found her success rate for submissions has increased. “Again, I think that’s because we are able to be creative.”
Janet says it is challenging to work in a constantly changing reimbursement environment. She says since she entered the fray in 2001 there has been a steady onslaught of cost containment measures.
“That doesn’t seem to be slowing down. People get used to a set of circumstances, have six months to work with something like cost recovery, and then the MOU between Government and pharma was established. Recently, the Health Minister broke with established protocol and referred all the PBAC recommendations to Cabinet . . .”
She says reimbursement is uncertain and complex, and that’s unlikely to change in the near future.
“The hurdles continue to be raised and that provides opportunities for Commercial Eyes. We are very experienced in what we do and clients will continue to come to us for advice.”