How Competition is Affecting Big Pharma

pharmaAlthough pharmaceutical companies have seen an improvement in drug pipelines, they are facing a new challenge. Namely, the first generation of blockbuster biological drugs manufactured by giants Bristol-Myers Squib, Eli Lilly and AstraZeneca are facing competition due to patent expiries. Zintro experts weigh in on the issue.

U.V. Parrotta is a director for regulatory, quality and technical services for pharmaceuticals and the medical device industry. “This is the plight of big pharma,” says Parrotta. “How do you keep the pipeline fresh: investigate and discover new drugs, take advantage of new technologies, or invigorate existing lines and brands? All of the aforementioned cost money and lots of it.

“I feel that is the reason why many of the existing brands or what I like to refer to as “exhausted” brands are placed on the chopping block by their respective companies, being placed up for sale to help generate cash for the investigation and discovery of new drugs or to take advantage of new technologies. However, this scenario is not always the right process for the company. Some of the consequences are the “flushing” of talent that helped build the brands. So, the larger the company, the more likely the business model needs to change to successfully or more succinctly, continually compete in today’s environment.”

Marketing and sales consultant Sanjeev Sharma explains, “Near patent expiry of drugs needs to align with pricing adjustments, so these companies do not lose on revenues. And they need to expand to the unrepresented segment–which gets encroached by companies/countries who don’t respect patents–and who are looking to break in once the patent expires. These companies should also double up the speed of new introductions with much more zeal and focus so as they can reap profits in the future too.”

Dr. Sumant Chaubey, PhD, PGD_RA is an independent regulatory, process and market research consultant. “New biological molecules development is very important to sustaining the pharma market in future decades,” he shares. “Bristol-Myers (followed by AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly) has always leaded in developing new biologicals. Drug discovery at the preclinical stage is assumed to contribute strongly to their revenue in the next 10 years. In comparison, AstraZeneca has good molecules at the late pipeline stage and that could contribute well in revenues over the next five years.”

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