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7 Biggest Challenges in the Pharmaceutical Industry

pharma industry challenges

Over the past couple of years, there have been many pharma company challenges. The global pandemic created an unprecedented demand for vaccines, shut down many clinical trials, and resulted in a worldwide PPE shortage. And now, almost at the end of 2022, the industry is still scrambling to catch up. The pharmaceutical industry still faces significant challenges and is looking for innovative solutions. Below are five of the most significant pharmaceutical industry problems. 

Supply Chain Disruptions

When we go to a hospital or visit a doctor, we expect the drugs we need to be there waiting for us. It’s hard for us to imagine that a hospital might tell a patient that their treatment needs to be delayed because of a medicine shortage or they are simply unavailable because of logistics challenges in pharmaceutical industry. Unfortunately, this is the reality we are living in because of pharma supply chain challenges.

It should be noted that these problems existed even before the recent pandemic, and the economic challenges for pharmaceutical industry made shortages even more acute.

When everything is running smoothly, the economics of the global supply chain can bring in a lot of profit, but when it fails, the human cost is enormous. In fact, some basic essential medications that are used every day in ERs and outpatient clinics have been in short supply.

 Invest in software

While managers at pharma companies are always looking to improve processes to increase efficiency, sometimes technical contingencies might cause a delay in the entire pharmaceutical sector. Therefore, to reduce the challenges of their pharmaceutical supply chain, they changed their strategy and made the most use of the resources available. While we are in the midst of a global digital era, companies need to invest in monitoring software to enhance efficiency. Such software will help you see the location of your product in the supply chain, which can help predict potential problems.

Need for Qualified Professionals

The lack of qualified professionals is one of the biggest problems in pharmaceutical industry. When we say a qualified workforce, we are talking about the people performing technical and intellectual work requiring extensive knowledge in a certain field. In fact, the productivity of an industry depends on the qualifications of the employed workforce.

A qualified workforce that can be relied upon is one of the essential elements that will help ensure a promising future in the pharmaceutical industry. The pharma industry needs workers with the necessary knowledge, skills, and experience. There needs to be more investment in a highly-qualified workforce to continue progress. Training the workers will allow them to obtain the necessary skills to perform their daily tasks correctly and efficiently and will also help fill in any gaps in skills they may have.

Challenges Reaching Healthcare Professionals (HCPs)

Working with HCPs is one of the biggest challenges in pharma marketing for many reasons. First, there are not that many targeting opportunities available, and the few capabilities offered by some publishing platforms are only based on geography and specialization. But marketers need targeting capabilities to be based on their prescription behavior and formulary access. The healthcare market is complicated and involves many stakeholders, like care providers, insurers, and consumers. Everyone has a say in deciding which product or service to adopt. This complexity offers a challenge to HCP marketers as they create an effective marketing strategy for healthcare professionals but struggle to make it work.

In addition, it’s also difficult to reach a critical mass of physicians and achieve business goals. The changing market dynamics make it hard for marketers to formulate the right strategy for marketing to healthcare professionals and forge connections with them. At the best of times, a marketer’s reach to HCPs is fragmented and lacks engagement. While a company’s web pages may be considered promotional and disbelieved as a policy by HCPs, scientific journals may not always be open to carrying their message. Marketers certainly need to be aware of the challenges for healthcare professionals and aim to provide solution to these issues.

key challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry today

Collection and Analysis of Large Volumes of Data

Data has become one of the essential elements and assets a company has. Within the pharma industry, data refers to all of the data entered by a company’s representatives or generated by machines. It is also worth mentioning here that data collection, in general, has become a critical element for companies across industries looking to gain an advantage over their competitors. However, the importance of this data lies in a company’s ability to conduct the needed data analysis to guide its decision-making.

Within the pharma industry, many risks exist concerning drug approval, quality control, and the supply chain. To overcome these challenges, operators in the pharma industry need agile tools to gather and manage data effectively while creating action plans. Companies can collect data at several levels, such as maintenance, production, and quality service—all of these need to be digitized and then exploited to resolve operational challenges in pharmaceutical industry.

Also, data collection needs to be planned. Planning will help prevent wasted resources. Whether you decide to proceed with continuous improvement or to set up maintenance planning, the collected data needs to be stocked and studied.

Increased Transparency

Increasing the level of transparency has always been a topic of debate. Research and development is a proven way of getting more insights about processes, the people behind them, and how the results are attained. In addition, we have seen clear public support and interest in the pharma industry during the pandemic, and it was necessary to communicate this openly to the world.

Much effort has been put into sharing more information about clinical trials while keeping information about patient identity confidential. The data from these trials have a lot of value. It paves the way for great advances in science and medicine. Therefore, in the future, there needs to be a way to collect and review information systematically and objectively by a third party so the research process can be more productive. While the vaccine was being developed, the industry found it difficult to display clinical trial protocols openly. I prevented people from understanding the types of studies performed and comparing various companies developing a potential vaccine.

There has also been a lot of discussion surrounding drug availability in which the industry has usually decided to bet on more equitable and comprehensive access. Also, medical discovery, development, and delivery are processes that can’t be performed without collaboration and dialogue with patients. For this reason, many organizations have decoded to reveal the value transfers that they have committed to health organizations. In addition to this, drug availability is not only the responsibility of the pharma industry since decision-makers are the ones who have the final say on whether or not a particular medication enters the market of a country. In turn, the people and patient organizations drive the decision-making in the countries.

Resistance to Change

Resistance to change is one of the key challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry today. The pharmaceutical industry can be resistant to change for several reasons. Change can be difficult to accomplish due to management resistance to significant alterations in operations. The industry is also highly regulated, which means any change made can be expensive because of the need for revalidation. Due to pharma manufacturing challenges, some manufacturers might prefer to stick to paper records because doing so makes it easier to mask errors. It can help overcome some of the challenges in pharma manufacturing.

In many cases, the price and burden of compliance have resulted in solutions not being adopted. It’s essential when suggesting the replacement of any paper-based system that ROI is presented clearly to all parties involved. While it may seem evident that replacing a paper process with a digital solution should result in efficiency gains, many may not see it that way, especially people that have been performing their job the same way for years. Technology must be presented with a roadmap that allows the entire organization to grasp the benefits that will continue to expand efficiencies and integrate previously disparate data and department processes. Up-front costs for compliance and time spent on system implementation must never drive a decision to move forward with a new solution. The long-term benefits of adopting new technology must be the driving force behind adoption to resolve the technology challenges in pharmaceutical industry.

 Fear of change

In addition to this, there is also a fear of change. We commonly hear the phrase, “well, that’s the way things have always been done.” Be the driver of how tasks will be accomplished in the future. The time, effort, and costs associated with keeping a legacy system running are an investment into a depreciating asset versus a platform to help expand and simplify, ensuring ROI. Change is a good thing when presented the right way. Our job as stewards of the business is to ensure that we make change a more comfortable and incremental process when adopting new technologies. Once we reduce the fear of change, the ability to innovate and adopt will become the culture to ensure technological progress. For example, the immediate reward for adopting something as simple as an electronic logbook can be seen in reductions in overhead, gains in efficient quality reviews, and speeding up batch processing. Other advantages can multiply exponentially upon expansion.

Data Security

One of the most significant regulatory challenges in pharmaceutical industry is how data is stored and managed. Cyber threats to the pharma industry make them prone to identity theft and evolving attack vectors. As organizations focus more on digitization, more of their valuable data gets stored online, making them a bigger target to cyber criminals.

Pharmaceutical companies also have a vast number of devices collecting health and patient data that is stored online. They use tools like big data and the Internet of Things (IoT). One of the biggest pharma industry challenges is that this increases the risk and makes it more critical for organizations to introduce security and privacy by design.

Privileged access (PA) is the process of designating higher access levels to specific files or systems. It enables organizations to secure applications and IT infrastructures, run their business more efficiently, and ensure their sensitive data and most critical infrastructure remain confidential. PA can be applied to human and non-human users, such as applications and machines.

The 2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report found that the average total cost of a data breach was significantly higher for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry compared to less regulated industries such as hospitality, media, and research. Therefore, pharmaceutical companies must have a thorough cyber security policy in place to protect those digital assets.

Solving Today’s Pharma Challenges Requires Modern Approaches

Many experts have a question: what is the biggest challenge that is facing the medical field today? But as we have seen from the information above, a wide range of issues need to be addressed. Pharma companies need to deal with several challenges that affect one another. Yet, at the end of the day, they need to be addressed holistically to be solved efficiently, quickly, and effectively. The weakest link in this chain can affect critical aspects of a product, which means that meticulous and expert pharma quality engineering is essential to ensure flawless execution, achieve regulatory compliance, and assure quality peace of mind.

Viseven is diligently working to help resolve the challenges facing the pharmaceutical industry 2022. We are helping companies in the pharma industry improve their business relations with HCPs through our CRM and CLM solutions. Our omnichannel services enable pharma companies to clearly see the impact of digital activities on general company goals, which can be built via monitoring customer loyalty and estimation of brand knowledge levels among HCPs for specific periods of time. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you.