Pharmaceutical supply chains must change, warns PwC

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The global pharmaceutical industry needs to develop different supply chain models for different product types and patient segments, and learn to use supply chains as a means of market differentiation, a report from PwC argues.

Steve Arlington, global advisory pharmaceutical and life sciences leader at PwC, said: “The most successful pharma companies will be those that now recognise the underlying value locked in their supply chain and can leverage it as a value and brand differentiator rather than just a cost. Those that recognise information is the currency of the future, will be those that go the final mile and stand out by 2020.”

The report, Pharma 2020: supplying the future, says that many of today’s supply chains are worryingly ill equipped to cope with the industry’s future needs.

Most companies have asset bases unable to produce the sort of therapies now in the pipeline with more complex manufacturing and distribution processes, different supply chains for a range of products and shorter product lifecycles. The growing importance of emerging markets, new modes of healthcare delivery, live licensing developments and environmental concerns, are all placing pressure on current pharma supply chain models with the risk that many will break, the report suggests.

“By 2020, the management of information transfer between the pharma company, the patient and healthcare provider will be as important as the movement of products. Supply chains must therefore evolve so as to direct and manage this shift, and companies will need to acquire a much deeper understanding of patients and their healthcare needs.”

Simon Friend, PwC’s global pharmaceutical and life sciences leader said: “In a world where outcomes now count for everything, the ability to integrate data, products and services in a coherent business offering that delivers increased value and better understands the needs of the patient is vital.

“Companies must now work hard to get closer to their patients as by 2020, there is little doubt that the data behind a product will as valuable as the product itself.”

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