Monday, December 31, 2007

HELLO 2008!! Digital crusaders and more…

Beijing Olympics 2008 will be the sporting event to look forward to... for all of us Pharmacists and healthcare professionals included!

In Jan 2007, I got a pleasant web surprise where in Mr. John Mack acknowledged a mail from myself to him in the following manner ... PLEASE CLICK HERE. 2007 was a great year for digital crusaders like John Mack, and surely 2008 will be the YEAR OF THE DIGITAL for Pharma and healthcare professionals and netizens.

This year 2007 has whizzed by – 2008 is just round the corner. Among various pharma and healthcare events, the withdrawal of inhalable insulin – EXUBERA for non-pharmacological reasons is the most interesting case study. Withdrawal of drugs or formulations is normally due to a problematic adverse reactions profile. Exubera was withdrawn for commercial reasons, as sales were not sufficient. So was the withdrawal of Exubera a marketing problem? Does the Exubera case study indicate a major silent shift in the structure of healthcare market? Is there a new undiscovered paradigm of decision making operating in the healthcare market? The curious case of Exubera is unanswered.

Visualizing emerging healthcare markets and trends in 2008

One of the most interesting tasks of stock taking every year end is crystal ball gazing – trying to make out the trends in the coming year.

The biotech trend will gather steam

2007 was an interesting journey: one biotech product - Exubera ‘bonged’, while Gardasil has taken off well, and this human papilloma virus vaccine looks to make history. Wyeth’s pneumococcal vaccine is penetrating markets worldwide admirably. Overall the biotech products will script success.

The global market for biotech products is growing fast and the 2005 estimate of revenues of major international biotech companies was 63.1 billion dollars market. The Indian Pharma companies too are looking at the attractive biogenerics segment as you can observe here…CLICK HERE.

From collaborative R & D to open source innovation, research, and development

The internet and the information revolution have contributed to an important phenomenon – that is empowerment. People are no more ignorant about various healthcare and other matters. Taking informed decisions has become the way of life for prospects and consumers. Furthermore, web 2.0 technologies have added to the spread of knowledge and wisdom through conversations and new media. This has added to healthcare literacy. Suddenly, one can go on to the net, gain significant understanding about health topics like say diabetes, and then can even blog to become an important opinion builder and resource on diabetes; for eg., Thus the new media has caused the collapse of the information float and created collaborative mindsets.

Thus, it has become inevitable for Pharma companies involved in R & D to collaborate and innovate, mainly to spread the risks involved and ‘bullet proof ‘ innovation activities. There by there is derisking of the R & D activities. Innovation projects are being outsourced to countries that can provide cost effective results. This collaboration mindset on innovation will know doubt get a fillip in 2008, but will further telescope in to open source healthcare R & D. Mr. Amit Sen Gupta, Gen Sec of All India Peoples Science Network has argued passionately in favor of the same on p no 14 of Economic Times, dated 26.12.2007. He makes a profound opening statement that TRIPS leading to increased innovation is only a mirage. Strong IP protection is encouraging protectionism and is harming the way science is done, he reiterates. Many more patents are taken out to stop others from working than to protect one’s own research, he argues. Open – source model of innovation is not new and is used extensively in the software sector, it organizes research from around the globe, he reiterates. It is possible that in 2008, there will be a new dawn in Pharma and healthcare innovation through collaborative and open-source innovation model.

Complementary healthcare products (including herbals) will rise

The recent Indian Pharmaceutical Congress 2007 at Varanasi was an eye opener. There was a lot of buzz on herbal drugs. There were interesting poster presentations and lectures on herbal trends. The Dr. P C Dandiya Endowment Trust Oration was dedicated to herbal drugs. An interesting scientific presentation on herbal medicine by Wei Duan, of Australia, has reiterated that about half the Australian population uses complementary and alternative medicine totaling an estimated 2.3 billion Australian dollars.

Here is an interesting report: CLICK HERE. More about herbal products industry: CLICK HERE.

Personalized medicine, SMART PHARMACY, and e-healthcare will strengthen

IT advances and biotech have helped map the human genome and is now leading to an era of personalized medicine. And the e-healthcare concept is gaining strength. For instance, the Economic Times, dated 29.12.2007 on p no 4, talks about how Talk to Frank is a drugs advisory and discussion web site that is creating a new paradigm in e-healthcare. The mantra of e-healthcare is demystifying healthcare knowledge, empowerment, and helping people take informed decisions.

2008 will see more excitement in the remote diagnosis and treatment healthcare space, as technologies for better telemedicine are already there and need to be applied.

2008 will see more of digitization of healthcare: open a website, and punch in signs and symptoms, get an idea of the healthcare issue, and may be even take internet based remote consultations with healthcare professionals.

2008 will see the rise of SMART PHARMACIES -where in community and clinical pharmacists will use IT, and help patients and consumers make the best health choices. One concept that pharmacists in collaboration with healthcare and Pharma companies will use is the After Rx Services concept using touchscreen devices.

Digital crusaders will shine even more

Digitization has created a new genre of crusaders - people who are passionate about certain issues, crusade in favor of their passions on the net. And these crusaders are creating new forces in the world through the most democratized medium – the internet. With web 2.0 getting strengthened, and web penetration gaining traction globally, such digital crusaders will shine even more.

In the Pharma and Healthcare digital world, here are some passionate crusaders (whom I recollect off hand): John Mack (passionate about his blog and the famous Pharma Marketing Blog Forum), John Virapen, Rich Meyer, Amy Tenderich, Dr. Steve, the team at, Peter Rost…

I RAISE A SPECIAL TOAST ON NEW YEAR’S EVE TO THESE BRAVE DIGITAL CRUSADERS. I AM SURE THEY WILL SHINE EVEN BETTER IN 2008. May their tribe increase, and may God shower them and their ilk, with the very best in 2008 and years to come.

You can access 49 blogposts put up by me in 2007 by CLICKING HERE. Please do read all the blogposts on this blog, enjoy, AND WISH YOU ALL A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2008. Thanks.


AmyT said...

A toast to you as well, Sunil. Thanks for all you do!


Sunil S Chiplunkar said...

You are very kind, Ms. Amy, I admire your work - a lot. God bless you Amy.