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January 24, 2022

The pharma industry is undergoing a commercial evolution in the value chain to thrive in today's dynamic and challenging environment as it looks to recover from the massive shock dealt by COVID-19. New complexities in the marketplace such as challenges in R&D, lack of commercial innovation, extreme pricing pressures, loss of revenue and a multitude of regulatory reforms, have triggered the transformation of the pharmaceutical landscape. Therefore, pharma companies need to reimagine their commercial models to ensure constant supply and access to drugs and high-quality patient care.

New business models require a flexible approach to increase the sales and marketing of pharma products. Though, some aspects of the existing commercial models—such as disease awareness, prevention, and management, enhancing customer focus and building big brands—will continue to enable higher growth; there is a need for new commercial models (NCMs) and technologies to lead the change. For instance, IoT is all set to revolutionize the pharma marketing industry, with gadgets or wearables that can process large amounts of real-time data.

To emerge as leaders in this ever-evolving environment, pharma companies can follow these industry best practices:

Collaboration with pharmaceutical players

Depending upon the nature of investments, partnerships can shape and enhance the pharmaceutical market. Device companies can help expand into bigger markets while collaborating with other players. Associating with the hospital chains can establish treatment protocols and drive local clinical trials, in turn, driving sales for these companies. This can help big pharma players maximize their return on investment (ROI). For instance, Medtronic and Stasis announced partnership to redefine patient monitoring in India.  

Implementing a flexible approach to pricing 

Dynamic pricing plays an important role in the pharma landscape. Pharma companies deal with pricing pressures from competitors and increasing expectations of the customers, and therefore will need to tailor their products, services, and prices according to the needs of the new and existing consumers.

Multi-country launches 

Not only will the nature but also the regulation of the healthcare and pharma products and services change over the next decade. Big pharma companies will have to explore innovative methods for assessing, monitoring, and supplying medicines. Instead of separate regimes for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and diagnostics, there will be a common regulatory regime for all the products and services. The new medicines will be approved by a cumulative process, enabling companies to launch new products simultaneously in multiple countries. Instead of dealing with different regulations and market conditions before the product is approved and available in the market, a collective approach will speed up the launches of pharma product and services. Once multi-country launches are possible, pharma companies will have the potential to start capitalizing on their R&D expenditure much more rapidly, which will positively impact sales in the long run.

Improve access to essential medicines

The availability of medicines is still an enormous challenge across the globe due to inherent structural and systemic reasons. Transparent, connected, and agile networks to track end-to-end drug movement is important. Leveraging advanced technology such as blockchain to track the quality and reduce the chances of counterfeit is essential. The framework should be able to track potential shortages, excessive stocks of medicines nearing expiry, and much more. Implementing automated synchronization, determining stocks for each medicine geographically, and prediction simulation for increasing forecast accuracy may help in bridging the supply-demand gap. Pharmaceutical pricing is important for making essential medicines affordable to the entire population. E-pharma companies that are dominating the market can also offer teleconsultation, to provide immediate access to quality healthcare for all patients.

Conclusion

Transitioning to NCM demands an agile model that adapts swiftly and responds to the industry trends that influence the patients’ overall care. Pharmaceutical companies are applying a set of powerful levers - efficiency, effectiveness, and innovation, to transform not just commercial operations, but the entire enterprise at large, making it imperative for promotional models to adopt a customer-centric and insights-driven approach.

Mansha Dhingra works with the TCS Life Sciences marketing team as a content writer, researcher, and editor. An avid blogger, Mansha is deeply committed to creating compelling content across all digital platforms. She has also worked with strategic planners, business owners, and other creative team members to conceptualize, develop, and produce brand stories. An English post-graduate from University of Delhi, she had a stint with reputed media organizations, including NDTV and India Today.

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