Survey: Strategic issues facing the pharmaceutical industry

July 1, 1997

Pharmaceutical Representative

Timely development of new products and the recruiting and retaining of talented people are the top two strategic issues facing the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industry, according to an annual survey conducted by Coopers & Lybrand.

Timely development of new products and the recruiting and retaining of talented people are the top two strategic issues facing the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device industry, according to an annual survey conducted by Coopers & Lybrand.

The Parsippany, NJ-based consulting company asked approximately 150 senior pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry executives in the United States and Canada to rate the importance of 23 key issues that the industry will face over the next five years.

"When industry leaders tell you that timely development of new products is the top key issue for the fifth consecutive year, you can be sure they're pulling out all the stops to get differentiated products to market ahead of the competition," said Erik Rule, a partner at Cooper & Lybrand's Integrated Healthcare Consulting Services practice.

"With competition intensifying in the world's pharmaceutical markets, being the first to market is crucial to securing a product's success," he said. "There's no question that getting there first yields greater sustained market share and allows for a price premium." In addition, a new product enjoys a longer life cycle, greater revenues and greater profits.

The other key issue - the recruiting and retaining of talented people - is unchanged from previous years. In a rapidly changing marketplace where mergers and acquisitions are commonplace, maintaining a healthy corporate culture makes this a challenging issue.

Executives said that making successful strategic alliances, strengthening research and development pipelines and identifying and securing in-licensing opportunities would be extremely important strategies for the next five years.

Coopers & Lybrand also asked executives to rate 17 industry drivers this year. According to survey respondents, the five most important drivers of industry change are: the rising costs of bringing new products to market; an increased emphasis on health outcomes measurement; government intervention in the industry; the swelling number of prescription drug purchase decision-makers; and the growing number of lives covered by managed care organizations.

"The current outlook for the pharmaceutical market worldwide is positive," Rule summarized, "but the survey confirms our belief that significant challenges will continue to confront the pharmaceutical biotechnology and health care products industry in the next few years." PR