Pharma putting digital drug delivery at heart of plans: survey

Almost 90% of pharmaceutical companies see smart inhalers and other digital drug delivery devices as very or extremely important to their future plans, according to a Molex survey.

Molex, which is active in the digital drug delivery space through its Phillips-Medisize division, polled 215 people working at biologic and small molecule companies of all sizes. The survey sought to gather views on “digital drug delivery,” a term Molex used to cover smart inhalers, digital pills and other products that record and share data on the administration of pharmaceuticals.

The survey found 54% of respondents see digital drug delivery as extremely important to the plans of their companies, with a further 34% of people saying the technology is very important. Only 1% of the survey respondents said the technology is of no importance.

Smaller companies appear to place greater importance on digital drug delivery. Almost 60% of respondents working at companies with 5,000 employees or fewer said the technology is extremely important, compared to 43% of their peers at larger organizations.  

Companies are primarily interested in adopting digital drug delivery systems to improve engagement with patients, gain a competitive advantage and demonstrate better patient outcomes. Only 18% of respondents said their interest reflected payment-by-results policies. Most respondents expect the technology to lead to notably better patient outcomes. 

One-third of respondents already have a digital drug delivery therapy on the market. Most of the other respondents expect their companies to introduce their first digital products in the next one to five years.

The transition to digital delivery systems may take time. Forty percent of the surveyed people expect most of their products to use digital systems within five years. However, 22% of respondents expect it to take more than 10 years to reach that point and 10% of people expect non-digital drug delivery to remain dominant forever. 

Multiple barriers stand between the industry and widespread use of digital drug delivery. The risk of data privacy issues was the top concern among respondents, who also cited costs, access to the internet and regulations as other common challenges.