Where does the pharmaceutical industry stand today?
1. More focus on chronic diseases
The participants agreed on a major aspect: There are many developments of our society that bring new challenges with them. One of the major ones is the demographic effect in society. The consequences are already visible today: The focus in the health care system will increasingly shift even further in the future from the treatment of acute diseases to the treatment or even prevention of chronic diseases.
2. The era of blockbuster drugs is coming to an end.
Another trend is that it is becoming more and more difficult and expensive to develop and approve further blockbuster drugs, e.g. by increasing regulatory requirements. Here, the focus is shifting towards personalized medicine, i.e. to tailoring drugs and therapies more closely to the individual patients for example by CAR-T or gene therapies.
3. Health gadgets are developing fast to become a serious therapeutic option.
The biggest disruptive potential to the pharmaceutical industry is expected to be driven by new digital players including Google, Apple or Amazon, which are just beginning to establish themselves in the health industry. The appearance of these new players is also encouraged by the fact that not all solutions and products in the healthcare sector need to be regulated any more – for example, for an early detection of chronic diseases by wearables or smart watches.
4. Healthcare startups: low-tech but close to the consumer.
The increasing number of startups in the healthcare sector is impressive. They offer innovative solutions, especially in the field of diagnostics, but also increasingly digital solutions for chronic diseases. This often involves coaching patients, for example by app. Such solutions often start very low-tech and are still often laughed at by the established pharma players. However, their solutions are often very consumer-centric. Above that, startups tend to be extremely fast in adapting and enhancing their solutions.
5. Big Tech as a competitor to Big Pharma
On the other hand, Big Pharma is facing more and more competition from Big Tech. High margins are achievable in the healthcare industry – so it’s not surprising that this sector is an attractive target for Amazon, Apple, Google & Co. These companies bring a different, mostly data-driven perspective to this industry – and can also produce innovative new solutions through their technological competence and cross-industry experience. One example of this is the use of big data to diagnose diseases or to establish real value-based prizing models. In addition, as platform providers, tech companies can also attack Big Pharma’s sales model and ultimately influence pricing, e.g. by taking over the distribution channels of drugs.