Take a look at a recent graph of health spending in the U.S., and you may see a visual metaphor for what faces drug manufacturing. It looks like a series of precipitous peaks, each smaller than the one before.
Spending in 2010 increased 3.9%, the slowest rate in 50 years. Retail spending on prescriptions grew just 1.2% in 2010, to $259 billion, also the slowest rate in half a century.
The snapshot report comes from the Office of the Actuary, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services, and is published in Health Affairs. It says the declines can be chalked up to a wavering economy and an onslaught of generic drugs, factors that drug manufacturers still face.
Those pressures come as the FDA and regulators in other parts of the world are likely to be cautious about approving drugs and devices. We know there are shortages and manufacturing quality issues for some companies to address and trade secrets and deliveries to protect.
But one company's challenge is another's opportunity. There are growing markets in places like Asia and India. There are constant innovations in IT and manufacturing that can cut costs and improve quality along the entire supply, manufacturing and delivery chain.
But to snatch an opportunity, you need insight into your markets, into what is happening and likely to happen. The common threads through all of this is information and data.
We at Fierce are all about giving you that information. And as the new editor of FiercePharmaManufacturing, I intend to bring my three decades of experience as a business journalist to bear so you know who in the industry is winning--as well as who is losing--and why.