Steve Jobs once said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” I believe this thought has propelled Apple to the heights it enjoys today. Similarly, I believe it is time for innovation to revolutionise the healthcare industry, especially in the pharmaceutical sector. For example, in 2013, the USFDA approved only 32 new medicines, and this number remained stagnant over the years. However, COVID-19 showed that the pharmaceutical industry can accelerate innovation, with vaccines reaching the market in as little as six months.
Healthcare is not unique in its slow adoption and diffusion of innovations. It took 64 years for the telephone, 45 years for electricity, 23 years for computers, 16 years for mobile phones, 12 years for radio, and 13 years for the internet to achieve 40 per cent consumer adoption. A staggering 86 per cent of pharmaceutical executives acknowledge the importance of innovation in their business, but only 63 per cent have a well-defined innovation strategy.
To foster innovation, several key considerations need to be addressed:
Allocating a portion of revenue for innovation (globally, this allocation has increased from 8.6 per cent to 11.6 per cent and is projected to reach 15-20 per cent).
Some ways we see the influence of digital innovation in the pharmaceutical sector include:
Demand Side View:
Supply Side View:
There is a significant role that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies will play in medical education, training, and patient care in the future of the pharmaceutical landscape. Some examples include:
Quantum Computing is another cutting-edge technology with potential applications in the pharmaceutical industry. Quantum computers use the principles of quantum physics to store data and perform computations, offering possibilities like identifying the causes of product failures in manufacturing processes and advancing cancer prediction. Additionally, quantum computing could contribute to reducing emissions and improving technologies for addressing climate change.
The role of AR and VR in the healthcare ecosystem is expected to grow, thanks to increasing device connectivity and government policies supporting healthcare digitisation.
The use of digital technology to enhance patient-centric care, from diagnosis to management and adherence, will be the way forward. With nearly 90 per cent of the US and UK populations regularly using the internet and high smartphone penetration rates, the pharmaceutical industry and other stakeholders will have a profound impact on how they engage with patients.
Views expressed by Shaik Barak Tulla, Sr. Vice President & Commercial Head, Acute