Pharma needs to prepare for the future

Male sneakers on the asphalt road with yellow line and title Future. Step into the future.

The pharma model is deteriorating rapidly. The public demands lower drug prices, and insurers deny coverage for more new prescription drugs. To keep money flowing, acquisitions of smaller biotech companies have been increasing, but some biotechs are learning that developing a new drug requires a lot of capital. Why doesn’t pharma prepare for the future?

What is the future of pharma? In short, it’s more like a small biotech company where decisions are made faster, and opportunities are identified. Most small biotech companies have leaner staff, and it’s not uncommon for employees to do multiple jobs. I’ve also noticed that there is a lack of meetings except in cases where these biotech companies are strafed with people from big pharma.

So what should big pharma be doing now?

1ne: Every department should be reviewed to determine the value to patients. Does this department add value, or are they there to protect others?

2wo: Reductions in the sales force – Pharma sales reps are becoming outdated. Today, medical people (Pharm D) need to answer questions and talk to HCPs as peers.

3hree: Reduction in DTC marketing – Running DTC ads repeatedly is a total waste of money. Pharma needs to do a better job of understanding the patient journey within each product category.

4our: Stop selling and start helping – Websites should not be intended to “sell” visitors. They should help patients and caregivers understand the medication and the health problem it covers.

5ive: Stop wasting money on paid online media – The amount of fraud in online advertising is staggering, yet I see clients spend a lot of money on them with poor results. Again, it’s about understanding the patient’s journey.

6ix: Invest in improved intracompany communications – There is no reason why pharma can’t implement online communication tools to speed decision-making.

7even: The use of AI to help develop drugs. AI could save pharma tens of millions of dollars in drug development, but it needs more development.

8ight: A CEO who “gets it.” (patients first, Wall Street later)

The bloat within most big pharma companies is beyond comprehension. It has to change NOW before it’s too late.