Which Global Trends Will Have the Largest Impact on Life Sciences in 2016?

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Life Despite current economic, political, technological and social challenges, life sciences companies worldwide should see enough long-term growth opportunities to feel cautiously optimistic about 2016. 
The major trends that we expect will capture the US industry’s attention in the coming year include operating performance within an evolving regulatory and risk environment, ongoing pricing and cost pressures, and adoption of new business models enabled by scientific and technology advances.

The entire agenda around operating performance—which includes a sharp focus on manufacturing complexity and quality—poses challenges not just in the realm of compliance, but also to overall cost optimization.

Many companies are looking at how they can pursue operational excellence across their organizations–not only in manufacturing, but in areas such as finance, research and development (R&D), and safety as well. In addition, while sector merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has intensified in recent years, many organizations are still working on how to optimize their acquisitions to realize the full value of post-deal synergies. Possible strategies include restructuring around shared services 3.0 and centers of excellence to mitigate cost pressures and leverage existing resources.

The second trend, cost pressure, is likely to lead life sciences companies to assess the value of their initiatives from a selling, general and administrative (SG&A) perspective. Plus, M&A and divestiture strategies will likely remain a dominant force in the coming year. A certain degree of asset restructuring may also occur as a result of current regulatory guidance on base erosion and profit (BEPS) shifting.

Importantly, amid the reform-driven shift to outcomes-focused, value-based payment and reimbursement systems, life sciences companies may continue to bear the brunt of public and private payers’ efforts to control costs. Truly innovative products in areas of unmet need (e.g. hepatitis C and oncology) may continue to command premium prices (and may help pay for future innovations), but patient and payer resistance is growing. Drug manufacturers are expected to continue to experience pressure to justify the cost of their products based on, among other things, the product’s comparative effectiveness against similar offerings.1

Of the major trends, however, the trend toward patient-centric care models may have the greatest impact to life sciences companies, affecting the entire value chain from R&D through treatment delivery. As an aging population and the proliferation of chronic diseases drive continued patient demand for targeted therapies amid reform-driven drug price controls, life sciences companies will want to find a balance between innovation and efficiency.

Emerging markets could continue to offer key growth opportunities in 2016. Although we’ve seen mixed results over the past few years, US life sciences companies should still look for openings in markets with significant access constraints and unmet needs—within Latin America and Africa, for example.

Source: 2016 Life Sciences Industry Outlook