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Transformation in the Pharmaceuticals Sector

Craig Lunnon

Building on success and global leadership - Transformation in the Pharmaceuticals Sector

The Pharma sector in the UK is a world leader in terms of innovative science and manufacturing excellence, with the third largest R&D spend after the US and Japan. The rapid development and licencing of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine has demonstrated how quickly, effectively, and safely the UK sector can bring new medicines forward when truly effective partnerships are established with a common goal in mind.

The continued success of the sector is key to the UK economy. In 2019 the wholesale value of pharma goods topped £50bn and the sector employed over 60,000 people in research and manufacturing in the UK. Whilst all commentators predict further growth, some by as much as 8% annually, this doesn’t mean that the organisations operating in this field, both large and small, are immune from some very significant changes in the markets and societies in which they operate.

Much has already been written about the challenges of Brexit, the development of new markets, and continued political and economic uncertainty.

These arguably fall within the scope of ‘more of the same’ for a sector which is used to challenges of this nature. The amount of capital expenditure and investment tied up, and the balance required to get products to market safely to make the most of patent cover are nothing new, and neither is an ever-increasing level of competition.

However, there are more fundamental challenges and opportunities that will have a deeper impact on how organisations in the sector go about what they do, particularly the move away from the sort of ‘blockbuster’ drugs that have dominated the market, from pain killers to antibiotics that depend on mass use to be economically viable.

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There are game-changing opportunities for those prepared to make the necessary changes to operating models and core business processes to exploit them; the greater availability and depth of health-related data, the use of AI and machine learning, step changes in manufacturing technology, control and efficiency, and the emergence of more tailored, patient centred remedies to name a few.

We expect to see new models emerging with some organisations focusing on niche conditions or therapeutic solutions - specialising in specific conditions where they have a level of expertise that makes it difficult for others to compete. Some will focus on data to become brokers in global healthcare systems - using databases of health and other demographic information to identify trends and match emerging needs to those organisations who can develop the required solutions. Others may adopt more agile portfolio approaches, making risk-based calls on future needs and targeting investment accordingly or even buying and selling smaller, specialist providers along the way.

We also anticipate changes across the sector from the smallest niche players to those with global position and reach. For the brave, the scale and scope of change will be daunting, but establishing and maintaining a position of global leadership has got to be a prize worth going for.

Sysdoc offer a full Data Enabled Business Transformation Capability helping clients respond to and fully exploit opportunities; building leadership consensus and change capability, developing operating models and core business processes around customer value, building new organisational capabilities, aligning culture and ways of working and supporting organisations through change with people centred design of communications, engagement, and learning interventions.

If you recognise the challenges and opportunities discussed above, then we’re confident we can help and would love to hear from you.

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