Pharmaceutical industry consultants have to contend with higher barriers to entry than most other industries. This is the need to overcome a question of personal credibility, through either documented qualifications or industry experience.
More general consulting firms offer teams that work cross industry. Barriers are rising as the industry sees the need for consultants who bring more than process to the table and the need for insight and creativity based upon a deep understanding of the sector. Additionally, the pharma industry still has a degree of academic snobbery associated with it that is not always good. You don't see this in many other sectors.BECOMING WELL PLACED FOR THE FUTURE
Here are some things pharma companies can do right away to stave off threats:
INCREASE RECEPTIVITY AND FLEXIBILITY
The industry needs to start making more decisions based on input from multiple stakeholders—particularly regulatory, pricing, and patient groups. At the moment, there is too much reliance on input from KOL consultants and prescribers.
It also needs to revamp its public image by being flexible in pricing (and I mean relating to perceived value at launch versus proven value based on emerging outcomes data) and more transparent in the findings from clinical studies.
MORE COMMERCIALLY DRIVEN
Outside of Big Pharma, companies are very often so caught up in the science behind their programs that they forget to articulate clearly the commercial reasons for their activities. This can impact their development in many ways, including raising capital.
There is massive potential outside of the US market—not just in Europe, but also emerging markets—but current business models will not unlock it.
PATIENT POWER AND EMERGING MARKETS
The industry is aware of all potential challenges in the future, but some of the key ones will be:
1) The rise of patient-power and the need to talk to them about their needs and views of current treatments
2) The impact of companies in emerging markets as they transition from copiers to "fast followers" to innovative market leaders
A consultant is not to be seen as a necessary evil. Embrace the relationship in an open and transparent way.
Wood Mackenzie has provided a range of research products and consulting services to the life sciences and energy industries for the last 30 years. With its foundation in quality analysis, detailed industry understanding, and experience, Wood Mackenzie is able to offer clients a skill combination, which they view as unique. Wood Mackenzie's market proposition is based on providing forward-looking commercial insight that enables clients to make better business decisions.