It’s been more than a year since the world was brought to a standstill due to the pandemic. This has resulted in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sector urgently searching for vaccines and therapies to fight COVID.
On the other hand, the pharmaceutical industry has seen a positive year in terms of financial investment received. Its adaptation to this new environment will decide its future success.
This blog will talk about the current challenges and trends the pharmaceutical industry has in store in 2021.
Major challenges in the pharmaceutical industry
In the past year, the pharmaceutical industry has had its challenges. The global pandemic created a demand for vaccines shut down clinical trials and had global PPE shortages. Now midway through 2021, the industry is still trying to catch up.
Here are the significant challenges impacting the pharmaceutical industry:
Limited Clinical Trials
Clinical trials run by pharmaceutical companies for anything other than vaccines for COVID caused huge interruptions. For some businesses, fortunately, the impact was temporary and trials have restarted.
New drug approvals are dependent on successful trials, which means a huge loss of research, money, and drug development. As a result, the industry and the ones funding it have suffered financially.
Reduce in Demand for Prescribed Medicine
Medicine has become expensive for households having low or mid-level incomes. Also, low-cost technologies and healthcare systems are becoming accessible to the public.
Pharmaceutical companies have become cost-conscious and are focusing on bringing prices down as per the demand. Till then, many patients are trying to manage their healthcare using beyond the pill services.
Europe and the US have seen a rise in biosimilar products and are a current trend in the pharmaceutical industry. These products have no meaningful differences compared to already approved biomedicine. As a result, developing and obtaining approval for them is cheaper and costs less than name-brand drugs. Biosimilars are hurting innovative capacities which is why the big players in the pharmaceutical industry are opposed to it.
Cyber Security Threats
Advancement of digitization and technology have their downsides in the healthcare sector. Cybersecurity threats are still a common challenge for the industry. The ongoing pandemic and high costs don’t help. Pharmaceutical companies can’t focus on improving security during these times.
10 Key Trends in the Pharmaceutical Industry in 2021
Due to the regulatory changes in the pandemic and evolution of technologies, the big names in the pharmaceutical industry have been pushed to broaden their digital capabilities. With the world looking for a cure to ‘COVID, the research and development field has come to the forefront of the industry.
Here are the top 10 key trends in the pharmaceutical industry:
1. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is becoming popular across most industries. It’s performing tasks using computer systems instead of human intelligence. It includes speech recognition, visual perception, and decision making. It also includes translation between different languages.
The pharmaceutical industry’s use of AI has different roles to expand, like accelerating the discovery and development of drugs. Some areas that can benefit from AI are clinical trials, improvement of medications, and fraud detection.
2. Digital Transformation
The pandemic has forced many countries to confine their people indoors overnight. For the pharmaceutical industry, digital transformation has been accelerated due to current circumstances. Most of the activities by the industry have been carried out virtually.
Digital technology has enabled companies to remotely gain access to shop floor data, as its security investment was extended. This was to ensure data safety, which is essential during the pandemic, for continuing operations.
3. Patient-Centric Care
The pandemic has pushed the pharmaceutical industry to more patient-centered care. This requires a good understanding of the medical needs and condition of the patient. This is essential to deliver efficient treatment and ensure the availability of treatments.
The emphasis on patients getting treated with successful drugs is encouraging innovators to incorporate patient-centered insights. Better targeting helps the industry achieve clinical results and ensures the pharmaceutical company produces more medicines that are effective. This improves their therapeutic value.
If drug introduction, development, and commercialization are patient-focused, patients will be able to find the right medicine and treatment.
Blockchain technology has been profitable in the financial arena and many have started to understand ways to use blockchain, including the pharmaceutical industry. Blockchain has become a significant technology drug production and distribution. The purpose of blockchain is primarily to simplify transactions, enhancing security and transparency, without involving a third party.
Stakeholders in the industry are secretive about data due to the nature of data being sensitive. Blockchain is also used to tackle substandard and counterfeit drugs that enter the pharmaceutical chain and kill patients every year. Blockchain is a promising solution for securing and tracking the transaction ecosystem.
5. Digital Marketing
Major healthcare systems have become digitally driven. They have digital health policies and strategies, creating technical infrastructure and using data by the system to analyze outcomes and future strategies. Even before the pandemic, it has moved to the supply chain, into the world of B2B.
Before 2020, digital marketing for many pharmaceutical companies was a weak spot. In 2021, healthcare companies can’t risk being without an online presence. Therefore, the pharmaceutical industry holds digital marketing as an important trend today.
Drug development is not the only thing impacted by technological innovation. It has also affected drug supply chains in terms of speed, safety, and manpower. Investing in automation systems is crucial in accelerating supply chains for personalized healthcare. This ensures the precision required is consistent for the patient’s safety.
Automaton used for manufacturing can assist in building supply chains more resilient and flexible, reduce costs, diversify and build stronger, cost-effective, and efficient. This technology has helped batch unit operations become more efficient, streamlined, and reconfigurable.
7. Big Data & Analytics
As the pharmaceutical industry grows, analysis and data become necessary. With drugs and their development having a wide scope to study, a large amount of data is collected. This means high-end software is needed to analyze it to get a certain value.
The industries have made the shift to digital, and are open to third parties handing over responsibilities of data management, making it an important aspect to the pharmaceutical industry. The advancement in today’s techniques and technologies makes analysis smooth and important. The analysis becomes prescriptive, predictive, descriptive, and diagnostic.
8. Flexible Production
Production methods have improved a lot with technology advancing. The pharmaceutical industry is changing its production style because of the shifting market. For example, precise medicines in small batches. The single-use technology in pharmaceuticals is gaining popularity because it has enhanced productivity and reduced downtime. It eliminates the need to validate and clean at every stage of production.
Also, the new bioreactors and manufacturing processes are the focus area for pharmaceuticals. Besides reducing downtime, they help in higher productivity, low energy consumption, and minimum wastage.
9. Research & Development
The value of medications has become an increased focus area. Pharmaceutical companies ensure research and development points to the intended target. An effort is there to achieve effectiveness and efficiency, according to the needs of the patients.
There is research specifically designed to recognize medications that improve the quality and experience of life in a way more meaningful. This has made pharmaceutical companies examine research and development to ensure the practices are refined and focused.
10. Cloud Technology
Anyone using a computer is familiar with cloud computing technology by now. It has been accepted well in the industry and is a trend that will continue. Pharmaceutical companies can use cloud technology to partner with various stakeholders with great levels of effectiveness.
Cloud technology can implement a strong infrastructure and offers opportunities to improve the integrity of data. Just as cloud technology is expanding over all other industries, the pharmaceutical industry’s growth will be supported with this technology.
Pharmaceutical Industry Stats and Growth Projection
The pharmaceutical industry handles the research, production, development, and medication distribution. The market has seen significant growth over the past two decades.
- The expected growth of the global pharmaceuticals market in 2020 is $1228.45 billion, with 2021 reaching $1250.24 billion. The annual growth rate has a CAGR of 1.8%.
- By 2025, the market is estimated to have a CAGR of 8%, reaching $1700.97 billion.
- The pharmaceutical market is expected to have a 7 to 10 % annual growth rate in the pharmerging countries from 2021 and 2025.
- Global pharmaceuticals and the medicine manufacturing industries’ market size is expected to reach 2.3% in 2021.
- The global pharmaceuticals and medicine manufacturing industry is ranked 4th by market size and is the 13th largest.
The pharmaceutical industry has been responsive to global demands and advancements in technology. During the pandemic, the industry is working hard to find a treatment that has affected lives. In the digital era, several other trends have influenced pharmaceutical companies.
These unprecedented IT reforms have not only brought profit potential but have also boosted digital engagement between firms and customers.
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The pharmaceutical industry has seen success beyond the driving forces, affordability and quality medication. Today, the industry should not only be up to date with industry trends but also adapt to unforeseen challenges.
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