What's the outsourcing outlook for 2010?

Outsourcing has been on an upswing for the past several years. Drugmakers have farmed out everything from research and manufacturing to IT and sales--and there are no signs that the move will let up this year. Eli Lilly just yesterday said it would outsource more of its R&D, and before the December holidays, AstraZeneca announced more outsourced manufacturing.

Given that it'll be with us for a while, it makes sense to take a look at how. Thanks to the International Association of Outsourcing Professionals (and Outsourcing Pharma) we can fill you in on some 2010 trends for the business. Expect a string of new outsourcing deals; pharma spent lots of time in 2009 focusing on M&A and the economy, putting some potential contracts on hold. Those delayed deals are likely to see life this year.

Speaking of M&A, that's likely to heat up in the outsourcing world, so expect more providers to join forces, particularly on the service side--think sales, IT, and CROs. And look for outsourcing providers that slashed their prices in response to the economy to come back asking for more pay. Providers will want to renegotiate those price cuts "more collaboratively," the association predicts.

Other trends: A focus on environmental awareness and social responsibility, with clients expecting their contractors to focus on one or both. And look for competition between outsourcing providers in Latin America and the Asia/Pacific. Central and South American companies are expected to wrest business away from Asia, pushing companies to differentiate themselves with training, education, professional certification programs and the like. For more, check out the list. And let us know what outsourcing trends you're seeing in your business.

- see the list from IAOP
- read the Outsourcing Pharma piece