New Age Pharma: Opportunities And Challenges
While the seismic impact of the CoronaVirus pandemic has shaken the world to the core, incremental and breakthrough innovation in the Pharmaceutical Industry is providing a ray of hope. At this point, healthcare organizations are overstretching their capabilities to battle out the crisis. On the other end, the protection of their frontline staff becomes a concern. Precisely, “Covid-19 is a Humanitarian Challenge”, quotes Mr. Sudarshan Jain, the Secretary-General of Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance. Moreover, tight scrutiny measures to support the ongoing efforts of developing the vaccine & repurpose existing drugs to counteract COVID have brought in a series of unprecedented changes in the Pharma & Healthcare industry over a couple of months.
Amidst this stringent lockdown and logistics issues, the industry is experiencing disruptive innovation driven by digital inventions. Technologies like AI, Big Data, Analytics, along with progress in Robotics have fast-paced the digital revival in the Healthcare domain. Alongside it has triggered several challenges down the line. In the current premise of Covid-19, when Digitization is reshaping the business model of Pharma, we have a power-packed session with the top industry leaders offering insightful takes on the current scenario.
The Biggest Challenge to the Road Ahead
In an industry, which is increasingly people-driven, digital transformation cannot be an overnight process. Also, automation won’t replace it completely. It can only augment the process of healthcare. However, Covid-19 has definitely played the catalyst for this change. According to O.P Singh, the President of Sales and Marketing at Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd, “transformation from physical to digital even in the COVID scenario won’t be too easy. Instead, Pharma can be a mix of both, offering a “Phygital” experience.”
What Drives the Digital Shift in Pharma
As a matter of fact, most of the innovations are happening outside the domain of traditional Pharma. It involves a wide spectrum of products and services, which are leveraging digital models while foraying in the Pharma domain. No doubt, the innovations are amplifying the healthcare capabilities with a deep analysis of data for outcome-based solutions.
Starting from the invention of biosensor technologies to portals and a suite of smart tools, multiple exciting breakthroughs are coming to the scene. It enhances the self-monitoring capabilities and patient adherence – which further rationalizes clinical decision-making and treatment success. Adding to that, comes data and analytics fuelling a profound transformational shift.
Are the traditional pharma companies falling behind the race?
We cannot ignore the fact that COVID 19 has already initiated a sea-change in the way healthcare is delivered so far. “Following breakthrough innovations in Robotics nowadays, it is used for sanitizing clinics, which was unthinkable years before”, says Rahul Avasthy, who is leading the Digital Transformation journey of a Fortune 500 Pharma Company.
On the other hand, Mr. Singh believes that Robots cannot fully replace human emotions especially in an industry, which is essentially people-driven. But, it’s true that Digital platforms have empowered patients with more accessibility, which we could not think of years before. From discussing mental health ( which is largely a taboo when talked about in public) topics to routine consultations with doctors, everything has become more accessible with more personalized solutions.
Rise of Telehealth:
Especially in the COVID crisis, Telehealth making timely and responsive care accessible while maintaining the social distancing norms. Leveraging the Predictive Analytics model, it helps in better prognosis, thus helping doctors to come up with a proper treatment plan well in advance. With every passing day, telemedicine is taking pharma communication “ beyond the pill” and providing customized support & education to the end-users.
Open Doors to Microlearning:
Digitization is making Microlearning in Pharma a reality. It makes the vast knowledge bank accessible, which was originally owned by a specific group of Pharma Companies. It results in better R& D and aids in more accurate clinical trials.
According to Abhishek Rungta, CEO of INT. “at the end of the day, the most important thing is people’s transformation. People don’t change overnight. Habits and mind-sets are created over decades, it takes time to adapt. So is true when it comes to the adoption of digital in Pharma. No doubt, the change has been initiated but will take time to shape up as full-fledged business model.
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