Visions of pharma’s future are always of interest and disruption is usually the order of the day, not that we don’t all feel pretty disrupted already. Two of the world’s largest consulting firms have recently published reports which explore these disruptive forces and the seismic shifts already taking place within healthcare. For KMPG, the future will mean fewer treatments as a result of more prevention, diagnostics and cures. The future of medicine they say will be driven by ground-breaking new therapies (genetics, cellular programming), advances in technology (3D printing, nanotechnology, bionics and predictive analytics) and consumerisation of health (wearables, apps, gamification and digital medicine). Deloitte pretty much support this forecast, identifying the drivers of disruption as prevention and early detection, customised treatments, curative therapies, digital therapeutics and precision intervention.
Whichever way you look at it, the future involves massive innovation, coupled with the greater participation of people in managing their health. Although not discussed in the respective visions, these trends will generate new communications challenges for the pharma industry. The ever more sophisticated and complex drug science will need to be communicated to all audiences in a compelling way, that builds both understanding and trust. Failure to do this optimally will compromise the benefits they offer. The future of pharma and healthcare depends both on scientific breakthroughs and on behavioural change, supported by understanding, buy-in and cooperation at every level. Bringing pharma’s future to life is intimately connected to bringing science to life.