Post pandemic period in this year of 2022 will always make us remember that COVID is likely to stay in one form or other and we should be ready to get through with the rich learning of the last two years.
One of the major impacts that the COVID period offered us is that it has given a boost to the reputation of the Indian Pharma industry not only in India but all over the world. Right from drug discovery and development to the implementation of innovative technologies at various stages of pharma operations, Indian pharma is emerging stronger with the contribution of leading players, government interventions, and also from small start-ups. The scenario is even more positively amplified by the ever-growing adaption of Telemedicine, E-pharmacy, digital health, and various other digitally-enabled healthcare services.
As Indian medical infrastructure and demographics inclusive of the rural, urban population are constantly changing, ground-level sales teams are filled with full of challenges. Pandemic has changed many sales and distribution dynamics; we will have to be innovative and experimentative in nature in the years ahead.
In order to grow in this classic challenging climate, once again those two earlier cornerstones Drug Discovery & Development and Marketing & Branding will be coming back with a lot of innovations. The third cornerstone of Technology will be added to the earlier two for speedy and precise outcomes.
Let me elaborate on how each one of these trends will drive the pharma industry in 2022-
Drug discovery and development
In 2021, pharmaceutical research and development have been majorly influenced by digital components, and these technological interventions to improve the outcomes will continue to rule the drug discovery and development in 2022 and beyond. With the implementation of smart technologies, real-world data collection has become way easier which is driving evidence-based efficacy, stability, and safety data processing and utilization.
Data science and data therapeutics will increasingly gather the attention of Indian Pharma companies in 2022-
Efficiently automated and accelerated drug development processes and delivery of potential new medicines are driven by data scientists and data therapeutics in the new normal pharma environment. Embedding data science and Artificial intelligence across the R&D has become more crucial than ever. Following are the area which will experience evidence-based and value-added data analytics interventions in 2022-
- In-depth understanding of the disease and diagnostic therapeutics which will aid the potential drug designing and development.
- Personalized meditations/precision medicines will gather many insights with data science
- The process of designing and assisting clinical trials can be facilitated and strengthened
Pharmacogenomics is also one of the areas which will gain increased recognition in 2022. Again, data science will play a pivotal role in collecting genetically diverse population genomic data. This data will further accelerate the shift towards mutation-specific indication and pharmacogenetic drug discovery. Vaccine development will be the area that can be highly benefited through data therapeutics in 2022.
Moreover, in developing clinical trials strategies, radiomics are expected to show impressive outcomes as drug developers will continue using advanced imaging analytics. This technology can offer revolutionary insights in making personalized, data-driven predictions and hasten drug development for cancer patients.
Hence, in 2022 and years ahead, drug discovery and development will bring value through AI, smart technologies, and biotechnology-based interventions.
Marketing & Branding
In 2020 and 2021, the pandemic has drastically affected the way of marketing for the pharmaceutical industry. With the increasing new generation of consumers who are highly knowledgeable and demanding, pharma companies are also evolving in terms of reaching their consumers. In this disrupted marketplace, digitalization is encompassing almost every element of business, marketing can be considered a major one.
Traditional pharmaceutical business models will no longer offer sustainable growth in 2022, companies have to be innovative and future-oriented towards their marketing strategies. Following are the key trending elements of marketing that can be strengthened by pharma players in 2022-
A data-driven approach to marketing and communication- Owing to the real-time data analytics, machine learning, and availability of real-world patient data, delivering customized and highly tailored products/services have become easier for the pharma companies who are integrating a data-driven approach in sales and marketing. The companies will continue to evolve in this area.
Omnichannel marketing- Pharma companies are now revisiting their Multichannel marketing focus and exploring the omnichannel marketing approach. Addressing the needs of multiple stakeholders and executing promotional approaches across the media channels can be effectively facilitated by omnichannel marketing and advanced pharma players are well aware of the potential benefits of it. It’s a model of the future for pharma organizations and brands, the increasing emergence of omnichannel marketing in pharma can be seen in the coming years.
Content marketing and consumer engagement- Content marketing is one of the non-invasive ways of educating the consumers and enhancing their engagement with the brands. For an industry like pharma, this approach is yielding significant benefits. Pushy sales techniques are no longer making way for much business, companies are upgrading and advertising their values through their digital presence. Ranging from articles, white papers, webinars, case studies, podcasts, and much more, the content marketing approach will be one of the crucial parts of digital marketing for pharma in 2022 and beyond.
No doubt, in 2022, pharma companies will show an increased focus on their marketing activities, reworking the business models and tracking the consumer experiences to enhance/modify deliverables as per market need.
Almost every part of the pharma industry is occupied by emerging technologies in recent years. Other than drug development and marketing, various other operations in the pharma industry like exhaustive manual production processes, paper processes, quality assurance, safety, and data security have been replaced by digital processes which are offering enhanced operational efficiency. Moreover, increased transparency, cost-effectiveness, and regulatory compliance add value to the pharma business. Following are a few trending examples of technologies that are currently being explored by advanced pharma companies and will continue to be dominating in upcoming years-
Artificial Intelligence- Although AI adoption in Indian pharma companies is currently at a nascent stage, in the coming years, the industry will progressively advance in this aspect of the business. With machine learning, natural language processing, and computer vision, pharma companies are unlocking several insights in terms of diseases, drug journey, clinical outcomes, etc., This will further transform the drug discovery process and can offer more affordable and accessible medications and therapies in the near future.
Blockchain- With the benefits of enhanced integrity and transparency in clinics trials, pharma companies are increasingly integrating blockchain technology in their R&D. Several benefits ranging from cost-effectiveness, automated processes, supply chain security, simplified transactions, etc make blockchain technology highly attractive for the pharma industry. Counterfeit medicines have been one of the major issues for pharma companies, blockchain has been showing promising outcomes in tackling this challenge by preventing the entry of such medicines in the supply chain.
Cloud technology- Beyond the storage solution, cloud computing in the pharma is addressing various tasks like managing security, privacy, compliance challenges, etc. Moreover, the technology is speeding up the drug discovery process, seamless collaboration, secure data sharing in clinical trials, and efficient marketing operations. Pharmaceutical companies in 2022 will bet high on could technologies to drive innovations and efficiency.
The pharmaceutical industry has been very restrictive towards adopting new technologies; however, pandemics have forced this industry to rethink and utilize the true potential of these technologies to streamline tedious operations and reduce costs.
Intensifying the contribution toward the global pharma value chain is essential to sustain and grow
While actively working on these three cornerstones, Indian pharma will continue to strengthen with the past experiences and rising government interventions to boost the sector. While aiming for domestic milestones, Indian pharma should continue to work strategically towards the global goals as well. Encouraging research and development with more contribution from private sector investments, initiatives toward harmonizing the regulatory framework on the global level, strengthening the domestic supply chains, and supporting the biotech-based drug development operations more strategically are a few crucial factors to be addressed while working on global milestones for Indian pharma in 2022.
Moreover, more industry-academic-government collaboration at the national and international level can build a competitive edge for Indian pharma in 2022.