We have written a lot about how data and analytics have made an impact on pharma companies, but they are changing them in ways that many people may not have considered.
One of the biggest impacts that data and analytics can have is simply on the business processes that pharma companies need to concentrate on as they create their drugs.
This is especially pertinent in multi-national companies who may transport drugs to countries all over the world and have multiple facilities where these drugs are made. This kind of model is very beneficial to both the companies supplying the drugs and also the doctors and patients receiving them as it allows for a swift and shorter supply chain, however with a supply chain with several moving parts and a multitude of origins analytics is essential to its success.
For instance, if a batch of a particular drug was found to be contaminated or ineffective, rather than needing to recall every single dose from around the world, pharma companies can simply pinpoint where it was manufactured and recall everything sent from that location. It also means that shortcomings in that facility can be quickly fixed and all others can be checked for similar issues before they become disasters.
Equally many of the drugs being shipped are very time sensitive, not only in terms of good business but also in terms of saving lives. This means that tracking them and making sure they arrive at their destination on time becomes vital. Analytics and real-time tracking allows the supply chains to be monitored accurately and this information can then be communicated back to the people who need to know exactly when shipments will arrive.
Equally important to drug creation is the use of data to keep companies profitable without being exploitative. We recently saw the outrage about Martin Shkreli and Turing Pharmaceuticals after they dramatically increased the price of Daraprim and this is likely to put all drug companies under the microscope for their specific pricing practices. Through using analytics and looking at where money can be saved in the process and how drugs can be made safely for less money, pharmaceutical companies can lower prices and still remain profitable.
This move is also likely to put their business practices under increased scrutiny and there has been significant negative press for the entire industry due to this subject. In fact after the news of this broke, the stock of several leading biotech and pharmaceutical companies dropped significantly as politicians waded into the debate. With this new scrutiny, pharma companies need to look inward to make sure there are no bad eggs in the company or anything that could be considered to be bad practice. To do this data needs to be collected about processes, then analyzed to pick out potential flaws or areas where they could be improved.
When people think about data within the pharmaceutical industry it is almost always about the complex creation and testing process, but today when data permeates through every level of a company, it needs to go even further than that.