Pharmaceutical Industry Predictions for 2014

Pharmaceutical Industry Predictions for 2014

By Zoe Dunn

Well, it’s been a disappointing conclusion to the year from a Pharma perspective: Plan B doesn’t work if you weigh more than 175 pounds, lowering LDL isn’t as effective as we thought, and the FDA is coming down on 23 & Me, shuttering it until it completes a medical device application. What all this says to me is that with innovation comes risk: risk that you might not succeed, and risk that raising the bar might increase your level of scrutiny. It doesn’t rain on my parade, though – we keep pushing for innovation at every turn.

Where will we net out for 2014?  In my (digital) crystal ball, I see a few things coming down the road:

FDA Draft Guidance on Social Media: Nope. I know the FDA is due to respond in July 2014, but I believe they will delay, again. And, I’m not sure if they will deliver on the Correction of Misinformation guidance either. But if they do, it will likely be a vague direction. Something to the effect: if the correction is a) relevant to your brand, b) focuses on current indications and adverse events, and c) puts consumer health at risk, you should make a statement IF it’s living on a property that you manage. If not, then the FDA will say we just need to be good citizens and take ownership for correcting misinformation where we see it. And so, we’re back to where we started… 

Pharma and the Affordable Care Act: Yep. Some company out there will figure out how to effectively integrate with Electronic Medical Records/Electronic Health Records (can we choose one acronym in 2014?!?) to provide physicians better patient materials and support formulary choice (improving health outcomes being one of the factors behind it). Will that company be yours? Check out what’s coming down the pike here.

Relationship with Payers Becomes Crucial: The ACA will have an impact once more. Formulary managers will have more control as consumers participate in Health Exchanges and they (FMs) will scrutinize products for the winning combination of lower price and higher efficacy. Where that line becomes very thin is when they can’t make the case on efficacy and focus on price, generating an industry bidding war. But perhaps publicly releasing clinical data will become more important than ever. Could this create more transparency for the public as a byproduct, which could lead to improving trust in the industry? Maybe.

Mobile will Dominate: Wait, didn’t we say this last year? And the year before? So why are so many desktop sites still not mobilized and why is mobile search still a novelty? I hope this does not appear in my predictions for 2015…

Wearable Sensors for Fitness/Health will Continue to Improve: Wearable technology will become more integrated and fashionable. This year we saw the FitBit Flex, Samsung Gear, and Google Glass launch. We expect to see more expansion of choices and features in the coming year as people figure out how best to use this increased technology integration in their lives to manage their health. What role will Pharma and Healthcare have in this? Innovation at your fingertips (literally).

Hope everyone has a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season.  See you in 2014!