The power of collaboration: tackling pharmaceutical challenges

By Inez Cornell

Inez Cornell, Marketing Manager at Radleys discusses the power of collaboration when tackling pharmaceutical challenges.

Pharmaceutical companies have started to embrace a more collaborative way of working as part of a movement to help overcome some of the challenges the industry is facing. Expiring patents and a tight regulatory environment are just some of the issues that are hoped to be resolved through forming partnerships across the industry, and even with competitors.

Radleys believe collaborative working is likely to play an important role in the pharmaceutical industry for years to come because of a number of trends which are emerging:

Technology is opening up new opportunities

Technology is slowly being introduced and utilised within healthcare and is revolutionising the pharma industry. When it comes to utilising technology and staying ahead of digital trends, the care industry is not necessarily well-recognised for this. However, with everything becoming increasingly more automated and digitised, care homes, hospitals and other care related establishments need to be adopting the latest technological advancements or risk being left behind. 

From software solutions which help out with administrative work, to smart home capabilities which can enhance staff productivity, to robotic technology which has proven results in increasing health; there are many advancements which should be considered - as well as the potential collaborations that could help streamline operations. 

There is also scope for more pharmaceutical and technology partnerships to develop products which will help to realise the vision of delivering personalised medicine. Partnering with technology companies to enhance productivity using automation is just one way the pharmaceutical sector can avoid wasting money on pursuing research into treatments that later turn out not to be viable.

Software solutions have allowed for the digitisation of records including care plans, residents’ medical records, and staff employment and management records. This has led to the optimisation of operational and administrative processes in the care industry and systems have played a large role in reducing the pressure on staff within care homes by providing a faster and more efficient way of recording resident information. Often a consultation with a specialist provider will outline possible solutions. Efficiency and productivity will be improved by partnering with relevant software companies, as will an enhanced quality of care to clients. 

Prioritisation of tackling complex diseases

The rise of conditions like diabetes and Alzheimer’s, alongside staff shortages is putting a huge amount of pressure on the US health system, so tackling these should definitely be a priority.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 5.8 million people in the US, and this number is predicted to rise to 14 million by 2050.  There are various initiatives and plans to help tackle this crisis. They set out the ambitious aim to find a cure, however finding treatments for brain diseases is incredibly complex and can’t be done without the help and insights of other industries.


It wasn’t that long ago that pharma giants were nothing less than fierce competitors, but the need for a shift has been identified. This leads to the collaborations of pharma companies as this is important for sharing knowledge between experts. 

Patient’s needs are changing 

Times are changing and patients are no longer content with going with the status-quo when it comes to healthcare; they demand more personalised health plans that are shaped around their own individual needs. Consumers have shown that they want new therapies that are better than anything on the market, and the pharmaceutical companies must have real-world research to back up such claims. This movement has been identified by the pharma industry, as well as by healthcare providers such as the NHS. 

Through collaborations between pharma organisations, healthcare providers and patients, a more streamlined focus on the outcomes that matter to patients can be made possible. According to research by the drug development company Covance, 84% of senior decision-makers in the field of clinical development agree that pharmaceutical companies must incorporate the patient voice in drug development more effectively.

Traditionally, pharmaceutical companies may not have embraced collaborative working, but now it is more of a necessity that is expected to become common. Despite providing rewards such as the ability to align decisions with patients' wants, needs, and preferences, patient-centric care can also provide challenges for the pharmaceutical industry. The main challenge for 2019 will be focused around the potential of the direct consumer becoming the pharmaceutical company’s most strategic partner. This will involve determining how to leverage the power of health technology, and how to shift focus from partnerships with the medical community to partnerships directly with the consumer. 

There has been a shift towards consumerism within the pharma industry in recent years with pharmaceutical advertisements and it is expected that as a trend this is only going to grow. It will strengthen and position drug companies, giving them more opportunity to reach the consumer through wearables and other devices.

The next few years will prove to be a crucial year for the pharmaceutical industry for many reasons, but in particular, to foster a relationship with the public, and establish relevant and valuable collaborations with other industries.

For more information on business topics in the United States, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief USA.

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