In the coming year, the main drive for the big pharma industry will be cost-cutting and efficiency. Through the use of new forms of technology that have presented themselves in the market, pharmaceutical companies are looking to harness new technology to become more efficient and maximise investment opportunities.
The top ways Big Pharma is harnessing technology:
Data Mining: Data mining large pools of health data can help companies develop more cost-effective clinical trials. As well, this large amount of information can provide a lower-cost approach to gaining perspective into the cost-effectiveness of medications. According to Ernst and Young's 2011 annual global pharmaceutical report, "Such data mining will be done far more cheaply and quickly than biomarker identification, which takes years of bench research."
Big Pharma and Small Biotech alliances: Large pharma companies need the technical knowledge of the small biotech companies, while the small biotechs need funding to manage their clinical trials. A win win relationship. By using these startups and their technological expertise, larger companies can pave the way to benefit from these technologies far into the future.
Mobile health technology: In particular, smartphone apps, which represented 41% of all new service focused initiatives according to Ernst and Young's report.
Some apps are aimed at physicians. For example, Pfizer (PFE) is working with the Epocrates drug-reference app, which now includes a “Contact Pfizer” feature that allows physicians to contact the company to ask scientific questions or report adverse events. And Japan’s Astellas has released a smartphone app that helps physicians assess the need for cardiac imaging.
It will be interesting to see what innovations in technology will develop in the coming years, and how they will be beneficial to the pharmaceutical industry.
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