A whole new challenge has been posed by Coronavirus; the industry is at a standing start in terms of a vaccine and needs to prepare more efficiently than ever, against particular constraints and obstacles. The capacity of the industry to articulate the innovations, challenges and opportunities it poses in multiple languages is almost as difficult as developing a vaccine itself. Yet pharmaceutical firms are working hard to find how they can partner successfully with each other and continue to create market momentum well into the future, as well as educating the media and public about how viable a vaccine is and when it may be available.
The pharmaceutical industry landscape looks very different than how it did at the beginning of the year, whether it is postponed conferences, simulated gatherings, distribution reps unable to visit their clients, or analysts needing to focus on tech to communicate with their team and other associations and institutes. Pharmaceutical firms are adapting to the rapid changes that emerge from changes in supply chains and the need to adapt business procedures during these extraordinary times.
Healthcare services have experienced convulsive changes and are now undergoing them. Let me focus on how the pharmaceutical industry has evolved and will evolve.
- Research & Development:
Projects such as the EU-EFPIA public-private alliance with the IMI (Innovative Medicines Initiative) have paved the foundations for what we are seeing now: the old business model of the industry is being changed. Where there was once a cut-throat struggle to find, create and sell drugs, former competitors, such as vaccine manufacturers GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi, who have joined forces to develop a safe and efficient coronavirus vaccine partnering through IMI ventures in this current scenario. This extraordinary focus on teamwork and cooperation goes straight around the board. From exchanging databases of validated therapies with researchers and others and seeing if the worst consequences of the current coronavirus can be mitigated, to having access to expertise, research results, development capacities and embracing risk sharing with the public sector.
- Clinical Trials & Regulations:
The focus must change to decentralized / near-patient / site-less-trials on sites and investigators. We need patients not only to stop attending hospitals where they may be infected or where they “steal” services from those in need, we really need to catapult to a paradigm focused on demographic data to classify and attract patients. Recruitment may no longer rely on the capacity of doctors to remember and locate qualifying patients. There is a chance to change health science, then. Similarly, in an outbreak situation and when businesses have to collaborate on master protocols and platform trial designs, this pandemic will force a new approach to vaccine trials.
- Supply Chain & Resources:
In the current situation, the Government of India should take crucial measures to eliminate the technological and financial obstacles that will spur the pharmaceutical industry to increase the production of APIs, thus reducing the pharmaceutical industry as a whole’s reliance on the Chinese market, which is heavily affected. Recently, the Indian government has taken applaudable measures by introducing an incentive package of 13.76 billion Indian Rupees (approximately $181 million) to encourage domestic production of essential starting materials, drug intermediates, APIs & medical devices.
- Shift to consumer centric:
In this covid 19 scenario, consumer has become very sensitive to information. There is a need to serve the demand of information through digital tools. The increased use of digital technologies, telehealth, and app-based environments makes patient-level data more available. Hence, it important that patient-centered supply chains should understand how this need can be met. Major improvements in telemedicine, video conferencing, remote-working software, and clinical-decision-support tools have helped doctors to cope up with the fast spaced transformed evolution in the field of medical technology. Increased supply chain transparency and information will be required by consumers and patients, and this transition to telehealth and app-based environments will require a tech-enabled distribution model.
Therefore, we can say that the COVID-19 pandemic is transforming the nature of world order and control, forcing leaders around the world to rethink their strategies for business and development. India certainly stands to benefit from such a restructuring with its deep expertise in the manufacturing of medicines, highly trained scientists and technological advancement.