5 pharmaceutical trends expected to drive industry change

Research team examines DNA models in laboratory

There has been a huge amount of growth within the pharmaceutical industry in recent years. This was spurred on even more so by the 2020 outbreak of Covid-19, which saw the whole world turn to the industry in the hopes of finding, producing and distributing a vaccine. And though the pandemic has increased the adoption of technologies and other innovations to support virtual work and other functions, pharmaceutical companies are up against a sea of challenges and change to which they must adapt. 

While the rollout of vaccines is underway across the globe, pharmaceutical employers should think strategically about future investments in order to thrive in the coming years. Here are some trends to look out for in pharmaceuticals, and what might be in store for the industry moving forward. 


1. Market behaviour leading to consumer-centric approach 

Consumers’ attitudes and behaviours have changed dramatically over recent years when it comes to the purchase and consumption of medicine – from their increased use of technology and willingness to share data, to their interest in using tools to make decisions about prescriptions and care.  

While large pharmaceuticals have traditionally been focused mainly on the product and its manufacture, it is predicted that it will become increasingly important for them to understand how their medications effect real-world patients.  

One way that companies are addressing this is by developing specific patient-centric strategies and preparing to participate in an emerging ecosystem. This would see the likes of patient advocacy groups, health systems and physicians, regulators, competitors, and technology and wellness companies become better connected so that the patient is at the centre of their product and services. 


2. Technological advancements 

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2020, pharmaceutical companies believe that transforming functions using digital technologies will be of high strategic priority over the next five years. Employers indicated that the focus of digital investments will be on gaining insights into the execution of business strategies—inclusive of understanding and adapting to changes in customer behaviour, improving the efficiency of the R&D process, and fast-tracking products to market. 

And although recruiting talent to deal with technological advancements was not highlighted as a specific issue, a talent strategy will be needed to fully leverage new technologies and create a digitally enabled company. 


3. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning 

Artificial intelligence (AL) is one technology becoming increasingly utilised across a wide range of industries. This includes the pharmaceutical industry, which saw a greater uptake of AI in order to speed up the testing, manufacture and distribution of the coronavirus vaccine. 

AI, along with Machine Learning, can help to speed up the process of drug discovery through initial screening of drug compounds, be applied to monitoring and predictive forecasting, help to identify the best candidate for clinical trials, and even improve fraud detection. 


4. Customised treatments 

Personalisation in medicine, otherwise known as “precision medicine”, has the power to effectively match patients with customised medication, which has the potential to reduce instances of genetic disease, aid in cancer treatment and improve the gathering of health data.  

Utilising data-powered insights, doctors will be able to select medication and treatments based on a genetic understanding of a patient’s disease along with variations in environment and lifestyle to treat them on an individualised basis. Interestingly, the production of precision medicine requires facilities that are typically specialised and smaller than most pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities.  

Although this concept poses a steep learning curve for the industry, it is a trend that’s expected to continue as the methods used are refined. In fact, it is predicted that investment in precision medicine from leading pharmaceutical companies will experience a 1/3 increase in the next five years, while the global precision medicine market will reach a value of $2.4 trillion by 2022. 


5. Transformation of health care delivery through digital technology 

Increased investment in and the deployment of home-based health technologies are creating new opportunities for biopharma companies to create value. Technologies such as sensors, monitors, at-home diagnostics, and digital therapeutics create massive amounts of data that can be used for improving the clinical trial process, as well as for labelling and targeting products to patient demographics that would benefit from them the most.  

Furthermore, devices, apps, and other digital services have the potential to engage consumers and support them in becoming more active in owning their own health care information and be a part of their care plan. Companies could be well served to take advantage of this momentum to incorporate digital technologies into the patient experience, either in clinical trials or via digital medicines and therapeutics.  

From a talent perspective, incorporating such innovations into a business ecosystem will likely require new talent and organisational structures in order for them to work at their greatest efficacy. Sourcing talent with a range of skills, including engineers, designers and data analysts, to inform digital investments will be an important step for employers and HR Managers. 


If you’re looking for pharmaceutical professionals to help you prepare for organisational growth, contact Bayside Group today and speak to our dedicated pharmaceutical recruitment team.  

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