Just before the turn of the millennium, in 1999, the consulting and research company Opticom carried out a survey of how senior representatives of what were at that time the major global pharmaceutical companies saw the future. How well does the companies’ vision coincide with the way things are now, 15 years later?
The report, Prescription for a healthy industry, also formed the basis for a series of articles in Svenska Dagbladet/Näringsliv written by Elisabeth Sandlund. The report was partly based on in-depth interviews with 34 senior executives at what were at that time the 20 largest pharmaceutical companies. Their analysis resulted in three main points:
- There is still a large unsatisfied need for pharmaceuticals. There is no cure for two thirds of all illnesses. The world population is getting older. New research methods are being developed all the time and there will be substantial growth in DTC (direct-to-consumer sales).
- Quick access to market is a key to success. In the face of tougher future competition, companies must launch new innovative products quickly.
- Company mergers slow down companies’ development processes. The top executives questioned the benefits of mergers and wondered whether they were driven by the financial markets and by financial consultants. They were the main beneficiaries of mergers – not the patients.
The winners, predicted the author of the report, will be companies that succeed in achieving a high organic growth rate, companies that sell or outsource in areas outside their own core areas and companies that focus on a small number of therapeutic areas and companies that focus their efforts on their own stores and customers. Companies will benefit from alliances with other companies and research groups, in-licensing, greater investment in research and development and strategic use of information technology.
The losers, on the other hand, would be companies with weak research portfolios but that chose to merge – those companies lose their focus and their rhythm, and therefore their competitiveness…
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