Patient over product: Pharma needs to prepare for the future, warns PwC

Patient over product: Pharma needs to prepare for the future, warns PwC
London, 21 Feb 2011 -- The global pharma industry, to meet the demands of a fast evolving marketplace and the shift from product to patient outcomes, needs to radically overhaul its supply chains, according to a new report from PwC.

Widely considered the back bone of a pharma company, many of today's supply chains are worryingly ill equipped to cope with the industry's future needs. Most companies have asset bases unable to produce the sort of therapies now in the pipeline with more complex manufacturing and distribution processes, different supply chains for a range of products and shorter product lifecycles. The growing importance of emerging markets, new modes of healthcare delivery, live licensing developments and environmental concerns, are all placing pressure on current pharma supply chain models with the risk that many will break.

As a result PwC believes that over the next decade, many companies will be required to strategically reassess and radically change their manufacturing and distribution model . In fact, according to the PwC report, titled, ‘Pharma 2020: Supplying the future. Which path will you take?' change in the industry's remit has even more fundamental implications for supply chains. Over the next ten years, pharma companies will increasingly have to manage a vast network of service providers, as well as manufacturing and distributing their own products.
By 2020, the management of information transfer between the pharma company, the patient and healthcare provider will be as important as the movement of products. Supply chains must therefore evolve so as to direct and manage this shift, and companies will need to acquire a much deeper understanding of patients and their healthcare needs.

Simon Friend, global pharmaceutical and life sciences leader, PwC, commented:

"In a world where outcomes now count for everything, the ability to integrate data, products and services in a coherent business offering that delivers increased value and better understands the needs of the patient is vital. Companies must now work hard to get closer to their patients as by 2020, there is little doubt that the data behind a product will as  valuable as the  product itself."

The global pharma industry will therefore, need to develop different supply chain models for different product types and patient segments, learn to use their supply chains as a means of market differentiation, all while recognising the importance of information over product.

Steve Arlington, global advisory pharmaceutical and life sciences leader, PwC, concluded:

"The most successful pharma companies will be those that now recognise the underlying value locked in their supply chain and can leverage it as a value and brand differentiator rather than just a cost. Those that recognise information is the currency of the future, will be those that go the final mile and stand out by 2020."

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