The Future of Pharmaceuticals

White pills of different sizes configured into a world map.

Big pharma is on the verge of a major transformation. A recent study by KPMG, entitled “Pharma Outlook 2030:  From evolution to revolution” accurately details what’s to come. Governments, insurers, hospitals, and patients are demanding more from drug companies. The first hurdle they need to clear is drug pricing. There seems to be no basis for astronomical drug prices, and people are demanding that there be a direct correlation between the effectiveness of drug treatments and pricing. The second obstacle pharmaceutical companies must work their way around is the shift from the treatment of ailments to the prevention of ailments. People are no longer content with just maintaining their quality of life via various drug treatments, and relying solely on their doctor’s expertise. They’ve become more educated about healthcare in general, and expect more from healthcare providers. Significant advancements in the areas of pharma tech, genetics and immunotherapy have made it possible for pharmaceutical companies to meet these demands; and in some cases allows them the flexibility to be more proactive and effective.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Technology has transformed the way many industries operate, and the pharmaceutical industry is no exception. More pharmaceutical companies have begun working hand in hand with tech firms to produce medical devices and related software that help people stay ahead of any medical issue that might arise during the course of their lifetimes. Key achievements in the field of genetics have given way to gene editing; a highly innovative process in which faulty genes can be replaced or manipulated to combat or eliminate various ailments. Many pharmaceutical companies are also focusing on developing immunotherapies to treat and prevent cancer and chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson’s, diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. All of these improvements help propel the pharmaceutical industry forward but aren’t adequate to overcome the critical adjustments that are needed to meet the demands of the public.

Trial and Error

In order to stay viable pharmaceutical companies will have to undergo aggressive reorganization under three new company archetypes: active portfolio company, virtual value chain orchestrator and niche specialist. They can set up experimental laboratories that test all three archetypes, and head in the direction that best suits their needs after a thorough analysis of the findings. An active portfolio company focuses on several therapeutic areas and has to be knowledgeable and flexible enough to capitalize on prospective opportunities. Active product lifecycle management is vital within this company type because the number of popular drug treatments protected by patents is steadily declining. A virtual value chain orchestrator has a data-rich platform consisting of information about drug therapies, patients, and research; and is able to craft comprehensive patient-specific healthcare programs. A niche specialist focuses on just one therapeutic area or health condition and looks at the whole picture concerning a patient’s healthcare journey from prevention to cure. This company type might end up joining forces with an active portfolio company and/or a virtual chain orchestrator to provide more comprehensive care for patients by way of better funding and healthcare data management.

Failsafe Planning

Pharmaceutical companies need to rethink and rework their overall approach to healthcare in order to maintain relevance during the industry’s impending reformation. There’s no time for superficial changes; the current pharmaceutical business model is destined to fail in the near future. 

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