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Pharma unprepared for shift to secondary care

Published on 28/11/05 at 03:06pm

Nine out of ten European pharmaceutical companies believe they need to make significant changes to their businesses as a result of the sectors shift towards secondary care, according to a new report.

The current pipeline of drugs in development is shifting towards secondary rather than primary care, as manufacturers look to develop more medium-sized, hospital-based products which offer them a high margin of return.

But the report, from pharma sales specialists Innovex entitled An Era of Secondary Care, found that just under half (44%) of those interviewed believe the shift towards secondary care will not spell the demise of the blockbuster drug.

The report involved 233 interviews spanning seven markets - UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Belgium - and found widespread uncertainty and disagreement over how the industry should react to the changes in the landscape.

Alison Clough, managing director of Innovex UK, said: "Companies know that they must adapt, but not necessarily how to do it."

Most anticipated changes, according to European pharmaceutical companies, will occur across sales and marketing functions, followed by budget assignments (32%), operational structures (28%) and R&D (27%).

Sales and Marketing (46%) also headed the list of changes already implemented by companies, followed by the restructuring of personnel (37%).

But nearly 20% of companies said they would have to restructure their entire personnel to meet the new market conditions - an indication of how seriously they value the shift to secondary care.

The research also unearthed some surprises, most significantly, perhaps, that 71% found that GPs - not specialists and consultants - are the most important decision-makers within secondary care.

Respondents said that GPs will have the closest contact with patients for at least the next five years and continue to manage hospital referrals, aftercare and post-care prescriptions - an important consideration for sales and marketing teams.

The report also highlighted the need for a review of relationships with stakeholders and key members of the secondary care community, particularly reimbursement bodies, insurance companies and individual patients.

Geographically, Belgian companies believe they will have to change more elements of their business than companies in other countries, with Italy and the UK close behind.

Innovex says its findings highlight the need to get best return on investment from all sales and marketing initiatives in the secondary care environment, a need that would require more accurate market sizing and targeted sales techniques.

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