I read an article by Stephanie Sutton, PharmaTech Europe entitled The Pharma 2.0 Trend for 2010. The article summarizes how the industry will remain status quo for 2010 based on Ovum’s industry report. “The trend for slow growth will continue, and cutting costs and reducing time–to-market will remain a priority, particularly with the impending patent cliff in 2011.” If the Pharma industry remains the same how will personalized medicine come about? We know that the pending healthcare reform will influence the industry. How much of a change remains to be seen.
In a previous blog I expressed the need for ‘process innovation’ and in this article it describes how IT and technology solutions must connect knowledge between departments and global organizations if we are to achieve the new model for healthcare. The term Pharma 2.0 refers to the new business model when the industry moves to personalized medicine or some form of ‘targeted treatments.’ I like how Ovum describes Pharma 2.0 as “leaner, globalized entity whose increased scale is achieved ‘virtually’ rather than through accretion.” To me accretion seems to be an interesting word and according to Dictionary.com “the growing together of separate parts into a single whole.”
There is ample data that indicates the current Pharma R&D model to bring new products to market is inefficient. Something we all know. Within these organizations the adoption of ERP has been an example (if done correctly) of how business processes can be streamlined and data collected in order to run a global business. This covers Manufacturing/Operations, Service, and Sales and Marketing. I see ‘process innovation’ being applied to the R&D side of Pharma. As new technology is introduced there must be an awareness of the role that IT plays in supporting the business process, and improving how data is collected and made available for decision making. Unlike ERP where there are vendors and service providers that have helped to put this in place on the business end of Pharma. There does not appear to be ‘one’ vendor for the R&D side. So the challenge is how to ‘connect’ these technologies together, when you have software-as-a service (SaaS) or ‘on demand’ applications alongside the traditional enterprise solutions or ‘on premise’ applications. This is the challenge we face as we go into 2010. I see this as an opportunity for IT to be the catalyst to help the industry transform into the Pharma 2.0 business model.
Given all the news about the healthcare reform bill and Thanksgiving (a US national holiday) I read this article which appeared in the Wall Street Journal (24Nov2009) by Melinda Beck “20 Advances to Be Thankful For” and a blog posted on: scientificblogging, science 2.0 by Becky Jungbauer. Thanksgiving is always a time for families to gather and share a common meal. Unlike other holidays, this one always has special meaning for me and each year brings new stories and changes in our family member’s lives. What struck me about this list of scientific advances is that we do have a lot to be grateful for I’ve chosen the following as it has direct impact on me and my family:
- 62% of all US adults are in excellent or very good health
- Life expectancy in the US reached an all time high of 77.9 in 2007
- Death rates from cancer dropped 16% from 1990 to 2006 (this is the second leading cause of death – the first is coronary heart disease)
- Deaths from strokes dropped 26% from 1995 to 2005
- Average total cholesterol (in adults aged 20 to 74) dropped from 197 milligrams per deciliter in 2008 from 222 in 1962
The author, Melinda Beck, goes on to state, “The longer you live, the happier you are likely to be. Many older adults find that happiness and emotional well-being improve with time; they learn to avoid or limit stressful situations and are less likely to let negative comments or criticism bother them than young adults, according to research presented at the American Psychological Association conference in Toronto this year.”
I do agree with the article that goes on to share simple “free” tips on taking care of you: getting enough sleep leads to thinking more clearly, helps with weight loss, and fends off infections. Going out and getting at least 30 minutes of sun will give you more vitamin D. Yet there is still more that we need to do to improve health care in this country and around the world. I look forward to seeing Personalized Medicine (targeted treatments) for cancer, new drugs for lupus and memory loss, advances in vaccines for gene therapy and cancer, which leads us to a promising future.
Take a moment and read through the entire article. You may find some reason to be thankful for as health care impacts all of us. Find time to focus on your family and avoid the stress of the job search. Recharge yourself and come back renewed that an opportunity is just around the corner. Yes, by now you can see that I am more than just an optimist. Please do enjoy your holiday.
I was asked to explain the effect of Healthcare reform on information technology (IT), and my answer involves: using IT to provide process innovation. Why process innovation and not product innovation? This conclusion begins with the current debate on healthcare, which is quickly moving us to more government intervention to:
- Reduce costs for what Medicare will pay for drugs and devices
- Tax rates on the ‘rich’ will go up making venture capital more expensive
- Stricter FDA regulations and more of a focus on drug safety and comparative effectiveness
Yet there are some benefits as a result of the stimulus for Healthcare IT, which many technology companies (SAP, IBM, Microsoft, Siemens and Oracle) will see as a market opportunity. I recently attended the BioConference Live event last week (http://www.bioconferencelive.com/). “An on-line only conference for the Life Sciences and Biotech community.” (The first time I’ve ever gone to a conference without having to travel, highly recommended with lots of interesting sessions.) Steven Burrill, CEO gave an insightful presentation on “Biotech 2009: Life Sciences Navigating the Sea Change.” What I came away with from his presentation was:
- Big Pharma will be looking to leverage their specialization around disease care spectrum
- Generics will continue to boom
- A new healthcare business landscape will appear from a convergence of technology that targets patients with specific treatment programs
All of this relies on ‘integrated’ technology platforms, data mining and integration services. For example, there are opportunities within Clinical Development to lower costs by ‘integrating’ the processes used for clinical trials. Managing clinical trials data from FDA submission through product launch can be improved. When we have electronic health records, and access to patient information, how do we manage to use this data for our supply chain in order to deliver ‘individual’ treatment programs? New services will arise because of the need to ‘integrate’ traditional client-server installations with hosted solutions.
I believe that the move to Personalized Medicine is inevitable. (The move away from ‘blockbuster’ drugs to ‘targeted treatments’ based on genetic makeup of an individual.) Healthcare reform will happen. We are now in the beginning of a fundamental shift in redefining how health care will be delivered.
Access to the Steven Burrill presentation as well as other discussions on a wide variety of biotechnology topics can be found on www.bioconferencelive.com.