Pharmaceutical companies have started to embrace a more collaborative way of working as part of a movement to help overcome some of the challenges the industry is facing. Expiring patents and a tight regulatory environment are just some of the issues that are hoped to be resolved through forming partnerships across the industry, and even with competitors.
Collaborative working is likely to play an important role in the pharmaceutical industry for years to come because of a number of trends which are emerging.
Technology is opening up new opportunities
Novel technology is slowly being introduced and utilized within healthcare and is revolutionizing the pharma industry. The care industry is not necessarily well-recognized for utilizing technology and staying ahead of digital trends. However, with procedures becoming increasingly more automated and digitized, care homes, hospitals and other care related establishments need to be adopting the latest technological advancements or risk being left behind.
From software solutions which help manage administrative work, to smart home capabilities which can enhance staff productivity, to robotic technology which has proven results in improving health; there are many advancements which should be considered — as well as the potential collaborations that could help streamline operations.
There is also scope for more pharmaceutical and technology partnerships to develop products which will help to realize the vision of delivering personalized medicine. Partnering with technology companies to enhance productivity using automation is just one way the pharmaceutical sector can avoid wasting money on pursuing research into treatments that later turn out not to be viable.
Software solutions have allowed for digitization of records including care plans, residents’ medical records, and staff employment and management records. This has led to the optimization of operational and administrative processes in the UK care industry. Systems such as eMar have played a large role in reducing the pressures on staff within care homes by providing a faster and more efficient way of recording resident information .
Efficiency and productivity will be improved by partnering with relevant software companies, as will an enhanced quality of care to clients.
Tackling complex diseases
The rise of conditions such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, alongside staff shortages, is putting a huge amount of pressure on the UK health system – tackling these issues should be prioritized.
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than half a million people in the UK, and dementia and Alzheimer’s disease is the leading cause of death in Britain. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. The Prime Minister's 2020 Challenge on Dementia laid out a series of plans to help tackle the crisis, including the ambitious aim to find a cure by 2025. However, finding treatments for brain diseases is incredibly complex and can’t be achieved without help from other industries with the ability to provide key insights.
Not long ago, pharma giants were nothing less than fierce competitors, but the need for a shift has been identified. This has fuelled to collaborations between pharma companies who are now more open to sharing important knowledge between experts. The UK has already won major Innovative Medicine Initiative grants to support multinational academic-pharma partnerships, which is definitely a step in the right direction.
Patient's needs are changing
Times are changing and patients are no longer content with going with the status-quo when it comes to healthcare; they demand more personalized health plans that are shaped around their own individual needs and sought-after access to new therapies that are better than anything currently available. This movement has been identified by the pharma industry, as well as by healthcare providers such as the NHS.
Through collaborations between pharma organizations, healthcare providers and patients, a more streamlined focus on the outcomes that matter to patients can be made possible. According to research by the drug development company Covance, 84% of senior decision makers in the field of clinical development agree that pharmaceutical companies must incorporate the patient voice in drug development more effectively.
Traditionally, pharmaceutical companies may not have embraced collaborative working, but now it is more of a necessity that is expected to become common. Despite providing rewards such as the ability to align decisions with patients' wants, needs, and preferences, patient-centric care can also provide challenges for the pharmaceutical industry. The main challenge for 2020 will be focused around the potential of the direct consumer becoming the pharmaceutical company’s most strategic partner. This will involve determining how to leverage the power of health technology, and how to shift focus from partnerships with the medical community to partnerships directly with the consumer.
There has been a shift towards consumerism within the pharma industry in recent years with pharmaceutical advertisements and it is expected that as a trend this is only going to grow. It will strengthen and position drug companies, giving them more opportunity to reach the consumer through wearables and other devices.
The next few years will prove to be a crucial year for the pharmaceutical industry for many reasons, but in particular, to foster a relationship with the public, and establish relevant and valuable collaborations with other industries.