Patient connections will be key in pharma's year of 'opportunity,' PwC says

PwC is out with its annual predictions for pharma and healthcare industry.

PwC's pharma and healthcare predictions for 2017 are out. And though, yes, next year may be "a year of uncertainty" with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump set to step in, it's also a year of "opportunity," the consultancy says.

One forecast pharma might want to heed? Patient connections, which aren’t necessarily anything new, will be increasingly valuable, PwC points out.

“Everybody wins when engagement takes place. Pharmaceutical companies would learn more about how patients manage their medications, and insurers could appreciate that patients are more likely to be adherent and meet their outcomes. There’s a domino effect," Fran Kochman, director of advocacy and alliance development at GlaxoSmithKline, said in the report.

And some patients have shown they're up for connecting directly with pharma. PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) found in 2016 that the majority of consumers with chronic conditions are willing to share their health data with pharma companies, including how well treatments are working and information about daily symptoms.

Another highlighted trend expected next year is collaborations. Efforts there have also already begun, with pharmas like Teva partnering, for instance, with IBM Watson for chronic disease management and drug development, and Sanofi joining forces with Verily for diabetes initiatives.

“The broad industry shift to pay for value over volume and a growing interest in wellness—the two forces identified by HRI as reshaping the New Health Economy most swiftly—are driving organizations to build new capabilities quickly to stay competitive,” according to the report.

Specific to pharma, other relevant PwC predictions focus on managing pricing and developing needed infectious disease treatments.