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article imagePharma sector embraces industry 4.0

By Tim Sandle     Oct 11, 2018 in Business
The medical and pharmaceutical sectors are facing disruption from companies that occupy space traditionally outside of healthcare. These are companies like Apple and Google, plus an array of startups. What does this mean for the healthcare landscape?
According to the business analyst firm Frost & Sullivan the pharmaceutical industry should be regarded as being in a state of flux, with competitive pressures at their highest. Companies are attempting seek a balance between developing new products that will appease shareholders (the so-called ‘blockbuster drugs’) and in seeking operational efficiencies.
To achieve both of these aims, digital transformation is seen as key and considerable investment has gone into new technologies and ways of working. According to Neelotpal Goswami, who is a Senior Industry Analyst with Frost & Sullivan’s global Transformational Health group: “Digital transformation in pharmaceuticals is leading to tectonic shifts in the way companies and stakeholders traditionally conduct business by introducing novel business and data monetization models and investment opportunities.”
He adds: “The move toward a value-based care model is driving the need for better drug adherence and efficacy, which in turn is driving the need to optimize performance.”
As to the specifics, Frost & Sullivan have released a new report into the pharmaceutical sector and the way this industry is embracing change. The report is titled “Digital Transformation In Pharmaceuticals Industry, 2018, Companies-To-Action.” The report looks at the types of new technologies being adopted, which include artificial intelligence, big data, Internet of Things, and blockchain.
These technologies are being used, the report finds, across multi-departments within the typical pharmaceutical firm. This includes research and development (where new products are created), manufacturing (which is seeking a flexible approach), and through to the end-user. At the end of the process, both the digital pharmacy (embracing news ways of ordering stock) and the patient (where data can be collected by connecting the patient back to the firm, as with connected technology), have seen advances in terms of digital transformation.
In terms of big players in the technology space, firms such as Benevolent AI and Exscientia are developing artificial intelligence applications to assist with the process of structured and unstructured data in order to gain insights for the drug discovery process.
Other leading players include Science 37 and Transparency Life Science, who are assisting with the virtualization of clinical trials by offering cloud and mobile models. These approaches make method transfer faster and by digitizing data, error rates can be reduced.
Blockchain can assist with the pharmaceutical supply chain and help to prevent fraudulent medicines from reaching consumers, including technologies from firms like Elemental Machines and iSolve. Digital pharmacy solutions come from companies like PillPack.
More about Pharmaceuticals, industry 40, digital transformation
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