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Navigating The Road To The Future In Life Sciences



Contributed Commentary By Subhro Mallik

March 5, 2020 | The pharma industry is at crossroad, where pricing pressures, focus on outcomes, complex drug portfolios and a challenging regulatory environment cast a shadow over it. This is putting an immense pressure on the research and development, safety, regulatory and compliance functions within pharma industries. However, these challenges also bring with them the opportunity to transform. The pharma industries that are open to the idea of change can anticipate the following five trends to take over in the coming year:

  • Going beyond the pill: Today, patients have access to information on nearly every aspect of an illness or disorder. This empowers them to be a participant in the decisions made about their health. No longer are they content with visiting a physician and taking the medication prescribed to them, but they, too, have a say in the treatment plan offered to them. Technology solutions can help patients make lifestyle changes to avoid worsening conditions and assist with adherence to treatment plans and provide vital feedback to healthcare providers. In 2020 and beyond, apps and digital platforms will continue to develop into part of a broader health ecosystem that monitors patients and contributes positively toward their overall wellbeing. This means that it is no longer sufficient to invest in R&D and market a drug to providers. It is also important to include patients in the decision-making process.
  • Reimagining research: Personalized medication is no longer a dream for the life sciences industry. It has become a reality. As a result, drugs research and development are undergoing drastic changes, enabling researchers to tweak drugs to meet the needs of these niche populations. Additionally, pharma industries and healthcare organizations will be better able to monitor patient health via wearables that transmit health and fitness data and provide patient assistance in real-time. Pharma industries can also use mobile devices to recruit and enroll patients quite effortlessly in clinical trials.
  • Automating the regulatory and compliance function: Automation is definitively transforming pharma, product development, commercial production, and real-time monitoring. It can foster manufacturing excellence by leveraging sensors and identification systems not only to help industries achieve compliance, but also to do so at the lowest costs. Pharma industries are thus looking to integrate the benefits of shared support services and shared environments to reap the benefits of automation now. It has also created a need for proactive and collaborative engagement with regulators to help ensure that efforts to fast-track innovation are in place. The changes that are periodically sweeping through the industry are encouraging pharma industries to reimagine the way regulatory content generation and regulatory authoring take place.
  • Value-based care: It is a form of reimbursement that ties payments for care delivery to the quality of care provided and rewards providers for both efficiency and effectiveness. HCPs (Healthcare Partners) are driving increased accountable care by paying for outcomes rather than a traditional fee for service models. This form of reimbursement has emerged as an alternative and potential replacement for fee-for-service reimbursement, which pays providers retrospectively for services delivered based on bill charges or annual fee schedules. This approach represents significant challenges for the Pharmaceutical sector, which is already facing an increasingly competitive environment. Pharma product development cost is rising, and pressure on pricing and access are growing. Though value-based health care represents a potential threat, it can also be an opportunity.
  • Digital Transformation: Digitalization has tremendous potential to transform almost every aspect of healthcare tremendously. Patient centricity will heavily rely on customer experience and value delivered, while industries will need to develop the tools and techniques to perform segmentation, personas, and enhance experience to support patients. Most of the impact will happen through HCPs and their ability to take the benefits to patients and companies, focusing on building the platforms to enable this better. Industries will move to a solutions-led model that will be more outcome-driven.

Life Sciences organizations are expected to invest and build therapeutics by leveraging digital transition as an opportunity to integrate disconnected services, internal business operations and external relationships. There will be an increased focus to leverage the broad healthcare, as well as the vendor solution and service ecosystems, by focusing on partnering with established digital healthcare players and vendors with digital chops, rather than building from the ground up. Patient-operated, medical-grade sensors, wearables, and connected medical devices and applications provide accurate real-world data points that leverage technologies to extract disease centric patient context and deliver personalized digital interventions on their smartphones.

By leveraging technology, pharma industries can better navigate their way out of the crossroads and on to the path to success.

Subhro Mallik is the SVP and Head of Life Sciences business unit at Infosys. He leads a team of client partners and sales executives to grow Infosys business in existing and new clients. He can be reached at SUBHROMALLIK@infosys.com.

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