Global pharmaceutical companies have suffered considerably on the face of patent expiry and lack of robust product pipeline in the last four-odd years. It is estimated that drug companies have on average seen a 20% decline in their revenues during 2009-2013 period.
The ‘patent-cliff’ is around the corner and major drug companies can expect a less challenging period in the next few years. However, there is a different kind of challenge emanating from generic drug manufacturers consolidating their position and governments across the world focusing on cost reduction and value realization in health care.
How the market evolves for global drug majors from this year onwards will primarily depend on how well they strike a balance between their business priorities and the concerns and expectations of other key industry stakeholders such as governments and consumers. From the drug companies’ perspective, product pipeline (awaiting approvals) looks healthy again. Also, instead of focusing on single (or few) mega drugs, drug companies are developing products targeting niche segments such as cancer treatment, neurological disorders treatment, infectious diseases, etc.
Another important realization of the last few years has been the need to cater to diverse expectations of consumers in developed as well as emerging markets. Consumers in mature markets are increasingly demanding a demonstration of value whereas there are still untapped consumers in cost-conscious emerging markets who are in need for the basic drugs for regular ailments.
Pharmaceutical companies must also monitor closely countries where the drug market is still under-developed and governments are working towards greater access to healthcare and better regulatory frameworks. This may help drug producers in gaining smooth access to the market as far as new products are concerned, clinical trials, and may also provide opportunities to collaborate with governments in raising overall healthcare standards in the country.