CPhI annual report predicts wide-spread adoption of telemedicine

It also suggests generics companies will be required to behave more like innovators to remain competitive

The 2020 CPhI annual report predicts significant market changes for digital adoption and global generic consumption by 2025.

The findings are released as the industry prepares to meet virtually at the CPhI Festival of Pharma, and suggest that digital technologies will help deliver lower healthcare costs through telemedicine and bring innovator-like approaches for generic companies.

Bikash Chatterjee, CEO at Pharmatech Associates and Aurelio Arias, Engagement Manager, Thought Leadership, IQVIA explore the longer-term implications of slowing growth in the generics market, with many products coming off-patent, and how digital solutions are affecting health and pharma structures.

By 2025, telemedicine and patient participation in routine healthcare will be the norm in the U.S. The EU will be close behind, even if GDPR represents a significant compliance hurdle

Chatterjee says patient centricity is no longer just a buzzword and change is accelerating. Telemedicine, virtual GP appointments particularly, will be one lasting legacy of the pandemic, but payers and insurance companies will have to adapt payment structures to reflect this reality.

“By 2025, telemedicine and patient participation in routine healthcare will be the norm in the U.S. The EU will be close behind, even if GDPR represents a significant compliance hurdle, as does the 2013 transparency legislation in the EU. Pharma will bring a more mature component of its R&D framework to analyze and harvest treatment information from telemedicine databases”.

Chatterjee predicts we will see voice collection of data in the home now begin to be incorporated into both home and health settings. Chatterjee added, “In April 2019, Amazon unveiled their secure software solution toolkit that allows health care companies to build Alexa voice tools capable of securely transmitting private patient information — a move that opens the door to a broad array of uses in homes and hospitals.”

These changes are gradually establishing the patient, not the care giver, as the ultimate customer of pharmaceutical interventions, and integration of personal devices will transform remote monitoring for doctors and decentralised clinical trials.

Arias foresees technology helping transform the approach of generic and biogeneric companies by 2025. In his analysis, he identifies that many generic companies will need to look at alternate strategies to maintain growth, switching from volume alone to innovative approaches that deliver greater patient value.

Arias comments, “North-Western European countries, especially the Nordics, UK and Germany, have historically shown immediate entry and rapid uptake of biosimilars so they are well poised to generate the greatest savings by 2025. There are a couple of large biologics approaching expiry over the next few years such as Eylea and Stelara. These will be focus areas for EU healthcare systems. The US however, will see the biggest saving of all when Humira exclusivity runs out in 2023. Currently there are around 8 biosimilar candidates lined up ready for launch in that year and this unprecedented level of competition will likely generate the highest savings.”

Arias added, “It is likely that we'll see an increasing number of specialist generics and biosimilars companies that focus predominantly on innovation. For example, Celltrion have explicitly stated that they will increase their focus on biobetters and have recently announced trials on an oral biologic. Generics in five years’ time could indeed come in many forms but the regulatory and payer environment will have to recognize and support them along the way.”

By 2025, 56% of newly genericised drugs will be small molecules, and Arias states the speciality generics market, which accounts for the bulk of the value, should focus on reducing administration complexity and adding a digital layer to their therapeutic offering helping patients manage therapies.

The report also suggested tomorrow’s off-patent leaders will be manufacturers who begin to behave in the way innovators do. Investing in patient-centric product design, engaging stakeholders, generating real world evidence and partnering with MedTech start-ups.

Tara Dougal, head of content at CPhI Festival of Pharma, commented: “Patient centricity and how technology will be integrated into therapies has been rapidly accelerated because of COVID. With generics coming off-patent, these will also become product USPs that drive growth in the years ahead. In fact, Aurelio will be presenting a roundtable on ‘Patient Centricity’ and we will have talks with expert on cross-sector collaboration as technology empowers pharma to reimagine the art of the possible.”

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