1. The industry’s reliance on the blockbuster model will decrease. Rather than relying primarily on a handful of blockbuster drugs, the industry will shift to developing a wider range of medicines. Sales and marketing also will change, as today’s enormous sales forces are replaced by smaller teams that will negotiate prices based on proven benefits and sell related services that may add more value than the medicines themselves.
2. The pharmaceutical industry will become increasingly bifurcated, with some companies becoming niche players, developing fewer, more targeted drugs; others will go the generic route, focusing on volume and sales for revenue. Companies can succeed on either path but will have to choose which way to go.
3. Real results will be crucial to product success. Products will have to produce value, and companies will profit from innovation, not by replicating existing therapies. As a result, greater focus will be placed on obtaining results supported by measurable data.
4. There will be a new focus on patient compliance. Patients often do not take their medications as prescribed or fail to take them entirely. Pharmaceutical companies will develop new, personalized compliance-monitoring technologies and techniques to ensure that patients take their medicine, improving results and safety while potentially generating more than $30 billion annually in new sales.
5. Prevention will become as important as treatment. “A penny of prevention is worth a pound of cure” takes on added meaning when billions of dollars are at stake. The pharmaceutical industry has long been focused on treatment of disease but it will be far more cost-effective to prevent disease than to cure it, and this will be a driver of innovation. With consumers increasingly focused on healthcare costs, pharmaceutical companies will also begin supporting wellness programs, compliance monitoring, and increased vaccination.
6. Technology will transform R&D. New molecular technologies will help realize the promise of genomic research, and the growing sophistication of medical devices, often in combination with drugs, will improve therapeutic effectiveness while cutting risk.
7. The clinical trials process will become more flexible. Today’s all-or-nothing regulatory approval process will shift to a more progressive system of in-life testing and “live licenses,” which will be based on a drug’s performance over time, with greater collaboration and data-sharing between pharmaceutical companies and regulators. This will also depend on the arrival of pervasive computing to the home and the ability to monitor patients remotely.
8. The regulatory process will go global. As international markets become more important, pharmaceutical companies will spur a drive for greater cooperation among national regulators to get lifesaving products to market faster and reduce regulatory compliance costs.
9. Supply chains will become revenue generators. Applying just-in-time manufacturing and delivery systems used in other industries, pharmaceutical companies will develop products on a made-to-order basis, creating new channels to market products.
10. Wholesalers will give way to direct-to-consumer distribution. As the over-the-counter product market grows and new technologies enable direct-to-consumer distribution, reliance on wholesalers will diminish with more prescriptions fulfilled automatically.