Monday, 4 november 2019 | Redacción CEU
Over the last few years, the pharmaceutical industry has been exposed to many changes. A good proportion of them have been inspired by the vertiginous advance of technology. Others have been influenced by new rules in the sector that seek to respond to circumstances like the need for funding new drugs, the changes in health regulations, the adjustments on the health budget, the new patient-consumer profile or the progresses made in research. The industry is being forced to adapt to the new times quickly, by facing its activity with new approaches that, in turn, involve more innovative business models. Responding to this complex and changing scenario properly is not easy. First of all, pharmaceutical professionals should pay special attention to the approach they take in their work. Today, at the CEU IAM’s Blog, we analyze five cross-cutting work lines for the pharmaceutical industry.
Talking about the pharmaceutical industry means talking about innovation. According to a recent survey on innovation in companies carried out by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics, pharmacy was the second activity branch that gathered most innovative companies between 2015 and 2017 (last published years). Its figure (78'1% of innovative companies) was only surpassed by R&D services. This data is positive, but still far away from the one that was collected in 2009, when the number of innovative firms in the pharmaceutical sector was 188 (now, it is 163) and 75% of the firms made innovative and technological investments (the highest ratio to date). This factor leads to the first key point in this article.
We live in a hyperconnected context in which technology is becoming increasingly important and customer expectations are increasingly high. If pharmaceutical industry professionals do not want to be left behind, they must channel their energy towards the identification and use of opportunities in this digital environment. Their efforts must be reflected both in the value chain of companies and in the implementation of new business models. It is not just about knowing and implementing technology. First of all, it is important to have the resources and the necessary capacity to get the most out of it. In addition, not only must the industry innovate in order to incorporate new advances in technology, but also because it is a fundamental part of its DNA. This sector is supported by drugs for everyday use, but also by the growing demand for solutions to less common diseases. Likewise, the aging of the population, the “chronification” of pathologies and the commitment to self-care make this challenge even greater.
Differentiation and recognition are key issues in this sector. There are normative and ethical limits that always have to be followed and respected, but this factor does not prevent certain patterns that are becoming obsolete from evolving, such as paying little attention to branding, using terms that cannot be understood by patients or treating the target audience as if it were an homogeneous mass. Nowadays, the pharmaceutical industry suffers from a deteriorated corporate reputation. Although this industry could be a gold mine of good news, its professionals do not know how to take advantage of this circumstance. Fighting the impression of general discredit in companies means working hard to improve the corporate image and credibility. To do so, it is necessary to focus on communication. Obviously, professionals need to start from a good base, which leads us to the next key aspect.