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Wake-up call for industry to rethink processes

Sonu Negi
Thursday, November 24, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

While the adoption of technological advancements has been slow in the pharmaceutical industry, the Covid-19 pandemic changed the scenario. The challenges posed by the pandemic have led to the increasing adoption of new technologies like AI, ML, Quantum Computing and Big Data by pharmaceutical companies.

The increasing acceptance of new technologies is targeted toward creating customised products, accelerating R&D efforts and transforming the experience for the patients. A Global Data survey conducted in 2022 revealed that over 70% of pharmaceutical industry respondents believe that drug development is the area that will be most impacted by smart technologies. With new technological innovations and advancements, the pharma industry is expected to undergo rapid evolvement and growth to match up to the rising healthcare demands worldwide.

How digital technologies are reshaping pharma industry
As technological innovations propel the growth of the pharmaceutical industry, here’s a look at some of the innovative technologies that are reshaping the industry.

Engaging consumer interface
The majority of consumers nowadays are familiar with chatbots and interact with them in various situations, from booking their cab to making investment decisions. Capitalising on the same, pharmaceutical companies are using chatbots to offer 24*7 support to consumers and give them information about the availability of medicines and medical equipment, knowledge about specific health conditions or how to medical devices, etc. Using AI and ML, these chatbots can replicate the human-like experience in an audio or text conversation and customise it for repeating.

Reducing hindrances to launch of new medicines
The cost associated with research and development is one of the biggest hindrances in the launch of new drugs or medicines. As a result, often at times, there isn’t adequate manufacturing and dispatching of medicines.

By utilising Big Data and Analytics, researchers are now able to reduce exploration cycles, making the discovery and development of new medicines and drugs quicker. Also, Big Data enables pharmaceutical companies to determine the side effects of a medicine or drug beforehand which shortens the time required for clinical trials.

Making data-driven decisions
There’s probably no other industry that depends so much on evidence-based decision-making as the pharmaceutical industry. Big data and AI empowers pharmaceutical companies to go through loads of empirical data and develop predictive models regarding their supply chains, clinical trials, drug discovery and many other use cases. This also helps the pharma companies to launch targeted drugs depending on deeper insights about a certain population and health condition. With the help of Big Data and Analytics, pharmaceutical companies are also able to identify the right partners for marketing and selling their drugs, without the need to spend huge chunks of their manual resources on research and scouting.

Aiding clinical trials
Clinical testing or trials remain one of the biggest challenges for the pharmaceutical industry. To test the efficacy and safety of drugs or medicines, pharmaceutical companies use live subjects which is no doubt risky. However, thanks to the inception of new technologies like Bioprinting, pharmaceutical companies are now gradually beginning to use imitations of human organs and tissues created through this technology. The technology conjugates cells along with growth factors and various biomaterials to create a mesh-like structure. These organs can easily replace live subjects in clinical trials. The technology is able to create tissues and micro-organs that react in the same manner as the human body does to new medicines and drugs.

Improving efficiency in manufacturing
Tech-enabled consistent research and development are helping improve the production process to streamline it and make it more effective and affordable for pharmaceutical manufacturers. Inventory management systems and radio frequency identification both contribute to cost savings and improved asset management, especially for inventories. Cloud computing and enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions also facilitate communication between the staff and management, streamlining manufacturing processes and lowering storage requirements.

Final say
The pandemic has served as a wake-up call for the pharmaceutical industry to rethink its processes and make them work more efficiently. The advancement of new technologies is assisting pharmaceutical companies to get the much-needed support to initiate new changes, drive growth and work towards the enhancement of public health through better products and solutions.

(The author is executive- regulatory affairs & CQA, Entod Pharmaceuticals)


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