Despite considerable improvements that blockchain could bring to the pharma sector, this technology-related revolution While COVID-19 accelerated digital transformation in the pharma industry, blockchain witnessed a setback in 2020, says GlobalData.
GlobalData’s survey found that in 2020 investments in blockchain decreased by six per cent compared to the previous year. Nevertheless, respondents across all geographies believed that investments in blockchain should pick up in the next two years, with 23 per cent of the surveyed respondents indicating that they expect their organisations to invest in blockchain during that period.
Urte Jakimaviciute, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData, comments, “Rather than simply accelerating digital evolution, COVID-19 emerged as a digital reset in the pharmaceutical industry with companies shifting towards different technology investment priorities in 2020. The pandemic significantly changed the relevance of innovations in the healthcare sector and altered the pace at which technologies are being implemented or developed.”
Being an unprecedented event, the COVID-19 crisis forced the pharmaceutical industry to embrace a reactive risk management and technology investment approach, which was mainly focused on short-terms strategies and tactics. Therefore, the decrease in blockchain investment may be associated with pharma prioritising ‘here and now’ technologies due to these developments having the potential to mitigate any initial impact caused by COVID-19, such as delays in clinical trials, salesforce disruptions and a shift towards remote work.
Jakimaviciute continues, “Undoubtedly, COVID-19 uncovered inconsistencies in inventory management practices and long-established procurement processes in the healthcare sector, when, for example, at the height of the crisis, hospitals were struggling to secure even the most basic protective equipment supplies. However, enabled by blockchain technology, the journey of medicines and medical equipment could become more efficient, secure, and streamlined. Creating, and maintaining the inventory of medical supplies, especially at a global scale, could help to tackle medical supply shortages, address quality control issues and prevent counterfeit products from entering the supply chain. While the adoption of blockchain technologies in the pharmaceutical industry has been rather slow and mainly limited to pilot projects, there may be an upturn in the future. Even though COVID-19 has not accelerated the adoption of this technology yet, it provided an even stronger need to optimise pharmaceutical industry processes, especially global supply chains – the challenge that blockchain is well placed to address.”