In 2017, the pharma industry faced many challenges. Some of the key highlights were government regulatory pressure, scrutiny on drug pricing, increasing generics adoption, serialization implementation, shortage of manufacturing capacity for biologics, increased adoption of single-use bioreactors and continuous manufacturing technologies, and consolidating supply base (CMOs and CROs).
Pharma companies are increasingly adopting continuous manufacturing for solid oral dose products as compared to batch manufacturing. Advancement in technology, FDA’s push for continuous manufacturing, improvement in quality and reduction in manufacturing floorspace are driving the adoption of continuous manufacturing. Most of them are procuring integrated systems rather than purchasing individual modules to adapt to their existing infrastructure. Supplier landscape has seen new players emerging in the market with improved technology. Suppliers are differentiating themselves by offering value-added services, equipment monitoring systems, warranty, and module flexibility. Even though the demand for continuous manufacturing equipment is expected to increase, prices are likely to be stable due to increased competition.
In the pharma R&D space, patient recruitment and retention for clinical trials is considered as a monumental challenge for the industry. The patient recruitment market is growing at a rate of around 15 percent annually due to increasing study complexities, regulatory requirements and competition in the industry to retain patients for the completion of a successful study. Pharma companies that relied on their own databases, media, and recruitment agencies are turning toward social media, online patient networks and advocacy groups for patient recruitment. Companies are developing multifaceted approaches to patient recruitment, such as partnering with patient recruitment services and adopting site network model, where sponsors pay a per-patient fee that is inclusive of recruitment and site-based costs.
The medical devices industry continues to consolidate, with a recent example being the acquisition of C.R. Bard by Becton Dickinson. The consolidation is in response to the high bargaining power of large hospital networks, increased competition, pricing pressures and focus on better cost management. Medical devices companies are consolidating to offer a wide range of products and services to address the need of their large clients, and are positioning themselves as one-stop solution providers for large hospital networks. The medical devices manufacturing landscape is changing. Puerto Rico and Costa Rica capitalized on their low-cost manufacturing offerings to become important manufacturing destinations; countries like Ireland and Singapore became hot spots for complex medical devices manufacturing by creating innovative and excellent ecosystems, and providing tax incentives for manufacturers.
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