The phrama sector has been in a state of change nationally and internationally for some time now. Internationally, there has been a churning of the market players. Big corporations no longer dominate the entire international markets, developed countries are now seeing the influx of products from developing countries, while emerging markets are finally making their mark.
For Indian pharma marketing too, there has been an upheaval. The story has been of the emergence of the phrama sector as a whole — big corporations as well as small and medium sized firms. The result is intense competition and the expansion of Indian phrama companies across the globe. Today India leads the global markets in terms of volume and is positioned at the 13th place in terms of value.
The intensely competitive pharma market is changing rapidly. There are multiple factors that influence the conditions in the market, from manufacturing to marketing. This is inevitable in a super-connected world, but some of this also comes from the increasing complexity in the market today.
Some of the influencing factors are:
- Healthcare policy moving towards disease prevention
- Increasing intervention of healthcare policy makers into how treatment should be meted out
- Increasing cases of chronic disease
- Tightening of rules and regulations
- Rise in pay-for-performance
- Emerging markets that are very different in character from each other
- Different kind of healthcare are now merging
But how will these factors influence the market in the year to come? What are the trends that we can expect this year. Here are our predictions on trends that will shape 2018:
Export uncertainty to US
The US remains one of the biggest markets for Indian pharma companies. Although an increasing number of companies are now also exploring the emerging markets, the US remains one of our strongest buyers. US is the biggest buyer of generic and branded generic medicine. In fact, the largest number of USFDA plants outside US are in India.
Any uncertainty in exports to India are, therefore, bound to make an impact on pharma marketing here. With the US government now becoming more protectionist towards its local industry, concerns over exports will continue to dominate in 2018. The result has been price deflation and increasing competition. This will also lead to the trend of innovating in medicine as analysts predict that the company who will be able to weather this storm are the ones that will offer a differentiated portfolio or a new cure.
Increasing importance to regulatory mechanisms
Increasing local as well as international pressure has increased the regulatory scrutiny on the Indian pharma sector. In 2016 a number of Indian firms had faced adverbial reactions , from warning letters to alerts. This raised the concern next year. But as the initial storm has passed, Indian firms will now focus on creating minimum standard. With national policies also tightening in this regard, the importance of regulatory mechanisms will only increase.
Changing attitude towards treatment
The entire approach towards healthcare is slowly, but steadily changing. Pharma marketing is now moving from mass marketing to target marketing. Healthcare policymakers are now changing their focus towards prevention rather than cure. This will mean an increasing spending on prevention-based cure.
There is also an increasing confluence between different healthcare treatments. So, we will now see a more holistic approach towards healthcare spending. This includes investment in preventive care, alternative medicine, elderly care and so on.
Role of technology
Like everything else, the role of technology will probably be again the defining trend of 2018. We have already seen the emergence of wearable tech on healthcare in 2017. This year wearable tech will only get better and more pervasive. With the IoT and AI becoming ever more important, innovation in healthcare will not be limited to better medicines.
Technology will significantly change treatment, such as creating a link with healthcare providers. It will also made data gathering efficient and effective. Now you may get your diagnosis from an eDoctor and simply log in your prescription to be delivered at your doorstep! The possibilities are endless.
Pharma marketing will continue to change as move into the new year — from innovation to comprehensive healthcare policies, the emerging new trends may change healthcare forever.