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Pharma cos brace up for a paradigm shift


With vast and quick change in culture and various global platforms, the industry is to witness a growing trend of digitisation in the pharma industry. They need to be equipped with technology, as many healthcare services would be offered on digital platforms, writes Ketan Zota, Director, Zota Healthcare

Ketan Zota

Digital platforms have helped the pharmaceutical industry stay connected with people globally and drives them effectively towards their products and services. The healthcare  players have become more active on the social media to connect with the inclined demands and trends. With this concept as a core thought, there are online patient communities that help the industry gain crowd-sourced data, with rating systems for drugs and various health supplements.

Pharma companies have  positioned themselves for improved growth through portfolio transformation, pursued deal-making, rate cutting procedures, and improved focus on high-performing therapeutic area (TA) and geographical markets.

AI in drug development

The global industry will adapt to Artificial Intelligence for drug development. More and more new chemical entity would be studied using designed software to identify suitability and effectiveness of new chemical. Once these entities show favourable results, chemicals would be used further for drug development. AI would be of much help in pre clinical and clinical studies. Pharma industry can see a revolution hitting in 2017, in terms of medical equipment  and its usage. Advancement in nanotechnology helps to develop medical devices that are in the range of micrometers to nanometres. These devices would be easier to insert/ implant in the body and can be useful to get real time drug release information and also help to destroy targeted pathogen or tumour cells. Use of electronic media is increasing to keep medical records. This will help healthcare professionals in measuring pharma-economic performances of different medicines and its outcome based pricing.

One of the leading reports on global life sciences outlook read, “Amongst the latest developments with implications for 2016 and succeeding years is a rising trend in health authority findings: 483s and warning letters related to unreported adverse events (AEs) found within third parties and non-safety-related departments at pharma companies. This increased enforcement is driving companies to examine the way they are assessing non-traditional sources of AEs, such as patient support programs, market research vendors, and insurance assistance centres. Pharma companies are implementing ongoing AE reporting assurance and monitoring programs, leveraging technologies with natural language processing capabilities in order to constantly identify AEs in non-traditional informants and confirm that those AEs were properly and accurately reported to health authorities.”

Pharma companies have pursued targeted and specialised therapies to meet the global trends till date. Corporations have also invested their money and time in up-to-date treatments known as precision or personalised medicine that rely on advances in genomics and big data to target very specific types of cancer or other diseases affecting small groups of patients. For example, a drug called Herceptin, approved in 2006, treats women whose breast cancer has too many copies of a specific gene that manufactures a protein that can stimulate out-of-control cell growth. Many companies might completely go virtual with their services and methods but yet certain research requires physical inputs for accurate results. Pertaining to this there might be certain processes that may be constant throughout. During 2017 and the coming years, both global health spending and pharma sales are expected to see an increased growth, driven by population ageing and expansion and the roll out of improved health insurance and services, particularly in developing markets.

The Indian pharma industry witness significant growth in near future owing to rise in pharma outsourcing and consolidation of highly fragmented industry. India has acquired most number of US FDA-approved manufacturing facilities and in terms of technology, quality and vast range of medicines that are manufactured; it is ranked highest amongst all the third world countries.

Impact of demonetisation

The impact of the demonetisation will be seen on Indian pharma industries for short term as purchasing power of entire retail network will be affected by this drive. Also this will create requirement to have cashless mode of payment across all retail and hospital networks where majority of payments care done in cash. This would also reduce overall healthcare expenses and more would avail medical facilities creating huge requirement of medical services. According to the Indian Pharma 2015 report, the Indian pharma industry will roll in the next decade, and will position itself into the top 10 market places in the world by surpassing Mexico, Turkey and South Korea. The number of global acquisitions by Indian companies for strategic objectives like technical or manufacturing expertise, distribution facilities and market share has also increased in the recent past. The global market continues to offer these opportunities for domestic companies pushing them to expand their international presence.

Awareness among people, side effects of drugs, and requirements of nutrition in the body will boost the use of nutraceutical supplements among youth in the country. Talking about India’s global reach in terms of Ayurveda, roots of medicine culture is India, is likely to grow. Along with the changing trends, the Ayurveda world is regaining its importance too. It has also boost the use of herbal products. Many pharma companies have included Ayurveda into their products and services. This has given a different outlook to their market positions. Youth would be opting more for nutraceuticals and ayurvedic products for normal day to day requirements. But the catch lies that the Indian companies will have to reconsider their business strategies on country to country. The core information of the survey should be considering individual value of the market, be it operating through strategic and marketing alliances or physically setting up operations in these countries.

Overall, the global and Indian pharma business models are witnessing a paradigm shift, moving from a completely integrated company structure towards a future where companies will use a wide range of digital platforms and outsourcing, contracting and partnerships to create use of digital platforms.

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