The pharmaceutical industry has been challenged many times during the past few years, and even though the pandemic seems to have come to an end, there is no time to relax or even catch a breath. Many ordeals and hurdles are about to emerge on the horizon, and even industry leaders and top brands are not safe. What are the biggest pharma industry challenges ahead of us and is it possible to prepare for at least some of them? Let’s take a closer look at the top upcoming pharmaceutical risks in our guide.
Distribution of counterfeit drugs
Law enforcement agencies across the whole world have seen a spike in the manufacturing and distribution of counterfeit drugs that pose a serious risk to the health of millions. Counterfeit drugs can often be unnoticed by the public and even sold in pharmacies instead of generic, patented medicine. And due to the rise of internet pharmacies and other advancements in technology, it becomes possible for fake medicine to be sold online without any supervision.
Counterfeit medications don’t only cause serious harm to the health of people around the globe but also cost the pharmaceutical industry billions of dollars in losses. To block the illegal trafficking, companies must act and make sure that the drugs they produce and distribute are easily tracked and that counterfeit drug are as easy to identify and remove from the chain.
Disrupted supply chain
The Covid-19 pandemic is not the only factor that played a big role in the disruption of supply chains. Economic instability, geopolitical perils, cyberattacks, and other threats have made an enormous impact on the pharma industry, forcing it to develop new business models and ways to mitigate supply chain risks.
Due to the possibility of continuing supply chain disruption in the following years, the need for risk assessment in the pharmaceutical industry is increasing. There are many types of risk assessment in the pharmaceutical industry that focus on different aspects: clinical trials, finance, manufacturing, quality assessment, regulation, environmental impact, and others. Adhering to the existing pharmaceutical risk management practices and improving them mitigates most of the upcoming risks.
Expiration of drug patents
Patent cliffs happen when a patent that protects certain drugs expires, making it possible for generic competitors to enter the pharmaceutical market with the drug that another company previously used to hold a monopoly on and set higher prices. In the upcoming years, many companies are expected to experience a drop-off in sales due to the patent cliffs. Following multiple patent cliffs, many pharmaceutical organizations lose their market share to generic companies that will be able to produce medication that was previously patented. As companies lose exclusivity, some of them will end up in a position where they will have to either develop new drugs or come up with new strategies to stay on the market.
Cyberattacks and data loss
Cyberattacks are becoming more and more dangerous, and they pose a great risk to organizations of all sizes. The consequences of them could be very serious, including compromised patient data, intellectual property theft, disrupted operations, and others. Just a single cyberattack could cost a company millions of dollars, patients’ trust, and reputation.
Data is one of the most valuable assets of all pharmaceutical companies, and to keep it safe, most organizations will have to take additional steps, such as better cybersecurity policies, updated software for data protection, proper incident response plans, and regular data backups. Without guaranteeing complete safety to its customers, no company will be able to stay in business for too long.
According to recent reports, the current talent digital pool in the Pharma industry is 14% lower than demand, and many companies are also struggling with the recruitment of technical talent. Another problem that adds to the issue of skill shortage is the change in the way we work. The pandemic forced many of us to stay at home and work remotely, which completely reshaped our approach to work and our lifestyle. Because of this, many professionals decided to switch their jobs to ones that offer more flexible and accommodating conditions, which led to a decline in the number of those willing to work on-site.
Companies can tackle this pharmaceuticals industry risk by offering more comfortable terms of employment and upskilling and reskilling opportunities, as well as finding new ways to not only attract talent but also retain it.
Artificial Intelligence tech disruption
Even though Artificial Intelligence (AI) can serve as a multipurpose solution meant to address many challenges within the pharmaceutical industry, it can also be a very disruptive technology, and there is well-justified opinion that it will disrupt nearly all traditional business models in the near future. Continuous advancements in AI technology will affect drug discovery, clinical trials, data analysis, and other processes in the world of Pharma; and many concerns regarding ethics and privacy must be addressed before companies start the process of AI transformation.
The best way to deal with the overwhelming impact of AI is to embrace it. Artificial intelligence will likely be one of the technologies that will shape the future of the Pharma and Life Sciences industry, and companies that integrate AI into their workflows early on will stand to gain a competitive advantage and drive innovation.
Get ready for what the future holds for your company now
Going forward, your organization will have to prepare to face many challenges that might put your company in a difficult situation. Every risk in the pharmaceutical industry might cost billions, along with a huge client base and reputation. To prevent this from happening, pharmaceutical manufacturers and service providers should focus on finding solutions before the actual problem happens. Do your research and establish the respective measures to be ready for every possible scenario. And if you would like to find out more about various risks, check out the article on the pharma industry challenges that also explores this topic.