Innovation, in terms of launching new products, is a key strategy for pharma companies to maintain operating buffers. However, improperly designed clinical trials, unsuitable patient population and lack of competitive differentiation are some of the main reasons for drug failures pre- and post-launch. Analytics can truly transform the growth strategies of pharma companies. By mapping patient trends to identify target markets, highlighting gaps in the efficacy and safety of current drugs, and narrowing down on test sites with high patient availability, analytics can significantly accelerate drug discovery and development.
The pharma industry needs more interventions like this. The prospect of expiring patents on the one hand, and an increased focus on generic drugs by governments on the other is exerting tremendous pressure on operating margins. The increasing influence of payors and reduced access to physicians is also adding to the pressure and making pharma companies rethink their sales and marketing strategies. According to WNS DecisionPoint™ Buyers Power Index (BPI), these factors have led to a decline of 3.6 percentage points in pharma companies’ gross margins from 2009 to 2014.
Pharma companies are also seeing the benefits of adopting analytics for their sales and marketing functions. Analytics tools are being used to improve the sales force effectiveness. Sales executives are adopting digital communication tools to share information with physicians, and also using analytics to develop tailored messages and more meaningful interactions. For example, for physicians dealing with a mostly elderly patient base, the marketing information focuses more on drug-drug interactions.
The WNS DecisionPoint™ survey reports that 87 percent of companies gained tangible commercial benefits from the use of analytics. Over 58 percent reported reduction in operating expenses, and more than 43 percent benefited from increased sales volumes. However, there is still a lot of scope for adoption and use of analytics in pharma companies. For example, half the companies surveyed are still not using analytics for customer segmentation and targeting, while over 70 percent of them are not using analytics to track and understand patient populations. Pharma companies thus need to delve deeper and ask the question, ‘How can advanced analytics be used to deliver a winning product launch strategy?’
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