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What do the 20s have in store for the pharma industry?

The pharmaceutical industry is always evolving to keep up with the latest developments. In the 2010s we saw a new American president and Brexit shake up the global economy, creating ripples across every industry. The 20s have been no different. Advances in technology, increasing regulatory scrutiny and changing consumer behaviour are just a few of the elements redefining healthcare.

There’s no doubt that this decade will be an exciting one for pharma professionals, with impressive growth in the market, and more and more companies taking advantage of the possibilities that new technology offers to make groundbreaking discoveries and develop new avenues within healthcare. 

So here are seven things to keep your eyes on.

1. High stocks and moderate growth in the market

The last five years have been a rocky road for the pharma industry, with market uncertainty and changes in U.S. tax laws slowing down growth. Couple this with the outbreak of Covid-19 and it was a storm that many pharma companies never even imagined they’d have to weather.

Unlike many less fortunate industries, the pharmaceutical market has seen significant growth since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic where we saw new demand for drugs, vaccines, and other medical products. Not to mention the record-breaking timescale for vaccine development that had the entire world holding its breath.

According to McKinsey, the pandemic forced companies to reimagine their organisational strategies. The long-term effects of this worldwide crisis are yet to be seen. Will the pharma market be one of the few to emerge even stronger than before?

2. Emerging markets

The pharmaceutical market is also experiencing somewhat of a change, as new countries begin to emerge onto the global scene. Though America is expected to dominate the market over the next five or so years, accounting for 45% of the total market value, China is making headway in the effort to be seen as a major player too. With a huge population, new measures passed by the government to encourage a faster process of drug approvals, and new technologies which make it easier to connect patients with doctors. A recent report shows that its biopharma market value alone grew from $3 billion to $380 billion in just five years.

However, other countries are also becoming forces to be reckoned with, such as Saudi Arabia, India, and Brazil. As the demand for healthcare products and services is expected to increase, so will the opportunities for other nations. There’s no telling what countries could hold the greatest stake by the end of the decade.

3. Speciality diseases will become more popular

Though oncology and diabetes have been earmarked as the top areas for growth within the pharma industry in 2018, rare and speciality-disease drugs are also on the rise and will continue to dominate the market throughout the 20s. In the past, many companies have relied on large disease populations for revenue, however, today many are making the switch to developing treatments for rare diseases. Due to favourable regulations across the U.S. and Europe, orphan drugs can be some of the most expensive drugs on the market, with a patent that lasts fifty years and can bring in millions in revenue for the company that develops and sells them. With the speciality-disease drug market reaching a value of $195 million in 2022, it’s proving to be a strong contender against the mass-distribution drug market, particularly in regards to the return on investment.

4. Big data gets even bigger

Big data was the buzzword of the decade in the 2010s. So has it delivered on its promise to transform the industry? You only need to look at how Big data is used in pharma to get your answer. Think about drug discovery, clinical trials, real-world evidence and precision medicine. Not one of these avenues would have developed to the point that it’s at without the application of big data. Those are just four major areas that have pushed the pharmaceutical industry forward in the last few years and are pegged to drive it even further over the next few years.

With the potential to improve the efficiency of clinical trials, and generate vast amounts of data, both in trials and from the healthcare apps that patients are increasingly using to monitor their health, big data is proving to be a goldmine for researchers too. There is no doubt that it has left its mark on the global market. 

5. Technical breakthroughs in nanotechnology and genetic engineering

With vast leaps in technology have come new ways of researching and developing groundbreaking medical treatments. Recent years have seen groundbreaking breakthroughs in areas like gene editing, with CAR-T and CRISPR-Cas9 technologies which are capable of editing genes and DNA moving one step closer to mass-market use - and thus the potential of being able to address and cure previously incurable diseases like Cystic Fibrosis and other extremely complex health conditions such as sickle cell disease and muscular dystrophy. Over the next decade, expect more investment and more research to be made in this area than ever before. 

6. The continued rise of generic drugs

Recent estimates show that the global generics drug market is expected to hit $574.63 billion by the end of the decade. The rise of generic drugs has dramatically impacted the pharmaceutical market, leading to increased competition, lower prices for consumers, and opportunities for new entrants.

As more generic drugs enter the market, brand-name drug manufacturers can expect to see a drip in revenue. For those that rely on a few blockbuster drugs for the majority of their revenue, this will hit them particularly hard. But for the global pharmaceutical market and the consumer, this can only be a good thing. Heightened competition makes healthcare more affordable and accessible, which is particularly welcome news for patients with chronic conditions who require ongoing medication.

7. Patient-oriented healthcare 

According to Deloitte, the gap between the patient and their data is closing, creating a “hospital without walls”.

One of the biggest changes that technology is bringing to the pharmaceutical market, however, is increased patient contact. The internet, smartphones and apps now mean that healthcare can be accessed anywhere, at any time: as a result, many firms are moving towards a new approach for engaging their patients, where their customers are better informed about the drugs that they are taking and given better tools to manage their subscriptions.

Deloitte’s 2022 Global Health Care Outlook report highlights how an uptick in healthcare cloud investment is not only improving care for patients, but it’s also enabling them to imagine a better return on investment. More profitability within the market means greater R&D budgets and, hopefully, bigger and better innovations in the years to come.

More innovation and growth

Big changes are on the horizon in pharma. From the market opening up to advances being made in everything from gene-editing technology to more sophisticated cloud-based solutions that inspire better communication between patient and company, pharma is moving with the times and innovating its client offering. The 20s will undoubtedly continue to be an interesting decade for the global market.

Interest piqued? Pharmaceuticals is one of the most exciting industries to work in, and we at IQVIA pride ourselves on matching the best talent to the most exciting job opportunities worldwide. Take a look at our medical sales jobs, browse patient-centric roles or explore our other areas of work to find a position that aligns with your skills.




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