Digital transformation of Pharma Companies in India

Digital transformation of Pharma Companies in India

India is one of the key priority markets & it is witnessing a major growth in the health and wellness space.  The country’s pharmaceutical industry is expected to expand at a CAGR of 22.4 per cent over 2016 –20 to reach US$ 55 billion by 2020. India’s pharmaceutical exports stood at US$ 17.27 billion in 2017-18. In 2018-19 these exports are expected to cross US$ 19 billion.


Medicine spending in India is expected to increase at 9-12 per cent CAGR between 2018-22 to US$ 26-30 billion, driven by increasing consumer spending, rapid urbanisation, and raising healthcare insurance among others.


Going forward, better growth in domestic sales would also depend on the ability of companies to align their product portfolio towards chronic therapies for diseases such as such as cardiovascular, anti-diabetes, anti-depressants and anti-cancers that are on the rise.

India is a volume market which is critical for our global clients.


The country is also witnessing growth in specialised health markets such as oncology, immunology and rare diseases where global pharma companies are looking to invest.

The Indian pharmaceutical industry has contributed immensely not just to both Indian and global healthcare outcomes.


Digital technology is playing an ever-increasing role in this era of profound transformations, characterised by increasingly informed patients/physicians, a new range of customers etc. As the customers are increasingly live and interactive in the digital world, pharmaceutical companies are venturing into the digital waters.


Digital transformation of the pharma companies in India is critical.


The healthcare space is becoming consumer-centric. This will lead to effective patient communication, online training of the medical field force and resource building for key opinion leaders and medical practitioners. Talking to consumers has become extremely important for health companies.

With apps like doctor discovery and appointment booking platform Practo, MedRep,MindTickle and Lybrate, which connect doctors, patients and pathology labs, the dialogue between patient and a doctor has become open and direct.


Pharma companies are moving from a manufacturing-based approach to a marketing one. They are looking at doctors as a strong influencer, while trying to empower patients with medical knowledge so that they can ask relevant questions.


Doctors are also becoming technologically savvy and pharma companies are looking at models beyond the medical representatives (MR) increasingly focusing on online communication. App-based communication will become big in the health space in the future. Digital is also making education much faster, affordable and accessible to everyone.


Pharma industry needs to create a credible source of information over the internet which is going to change the image of the industry in India.


Here are 6 ways that digital is transforming the pharmaceutical and healthcare landscape.


1. The efficacy of treatment is now transparent.

2. Data visualisation to increase accessibility.

3. Patients are empowered to play an active role in their care.

4. 24/7 Virtual Care.

5. Digital streamlines processes for efficiency.

6. Enhanced Drug Development.


India has a huge patient dropout rate and there is a need for integrated care system platform and services.There is need for a collaborative approach between the agency and the client. Agencies can no longer be merely a service provider.


Better Patient Engagement:


Emerging trends are showcasing that patients are getting more engaged in their healthcare treatment. Digital technology has empowered them to play an active role in their care. Owing to the pool of information available over the internet on health care and pharmaceuticals, people are becoming more comfortable with taking care of their own well-being. Pharmaceutical companies are benefiting from this trend, as the pharma industry has an opportunity to connect and engage with potential patients online while they are researching the benefits of certain products. 


Enhanced Drug Development:


Digital technology is transforming the pharmaceutical development industry. With real-time information from both clinical trials and patients, pharma companies are able to gather a better knowledge of how a drug affects a user, and how they can optimize its effects and minimize side effects.


Better Sales:


Digital technology is providing opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to increase their sales. It has renewed the interest of Indian pharma companies in gaining dynamic customer insights and personalising the customer experience. Delivering personalised healthcare to patients at the right time using the right channel is increasing revenue and reducing costs.


Accessible Healthcare:


Customers are going digital, and they want everything at their fingertips. The healthcare system in India is extremely chaotic. People don’t know where to go to locate the right specialist, find all of their prescribed medicines or even find a good laboratory for their tests. Online Pharmacies are making healthcare accessible to millions of people at all levels.


A digital wave is sweeping across the Indian pharmaceutical industry and companies are dumping old ways of marketing for newer technology. This new technology ranges from scientific detailing to doctors to using newer algorithms for better insights into issues like patient compliance.


The trend matches a similar switch in China over the last few years.


The pharma industry’s marketing spends through digital platforms is estimated to shoot up nearly 50% in the next two years to touch Rs 220 crore. Mobile apps and social media are set to play a bigger role in this growth, the study that is part of a larger report on global digital marketing trends found. 


Pharma companies in India have already begun switching to new technology. Sun Pharma launched a mobile app called RespiTrack for patient awareness on asthma and to ensure their adherence to treatment regimen. The company reportedly making similar apps for other ailments as well. GlaxoSmithKline’s believes companies will have to hone their digital skills because a large portion of their customers will operate in that space.


GSK has not only leveraged webinars, video chats, information portals and platforms like ‘Viva’ for doctors, it has also equipped its field force with devices like iPads. This would help the company disseminate real-time information on developments in therapy areas as opposed to waiting six months.

Abbott Healthcare see India as a ground for introducing tech innovations that can be replicated worldwide. It introduced several tools like Knowledge Genie, a heart and liver app and another one for vertigo exercises. Some of these build on augmented and virtual reality to engage with both doctors and patients.


From an earlier product-specific detailing, the focus has now moved to scientific detailing.


This digitisation is also helping companies to gear up for the introduction of the proposed uniform code of pharmaceutical marketing practices.


While technology is sharpening patient interface, a Bangalore bases company survey adds that pharma companies currently face a big hurdle in implementing multi-channel marketing campaigns here — they aren’t able to adequately measure how much ROI {return on investment } they get using these new channels.


Digitally enabled healthcare is here, and most pharmaceutical companies aren’t ready.


Despite access to unprecedented data and technologies that can be used to drive better health outcomes by influencing customer behavior, few are truly exploring digital-engagement models. The opportunity to learn more about consumers and develop better, more targeted products and services far outweighs the threat digitization presents companies—for now.


Unless incumbent pharmaceutical companies move quickly, innovative competitors may grab a greater share of benefits and stronger customer loyalty.


Last year attended a  conference at Bangalore on above subject . The objective was to focus on patient engagement and disease management and transforming /changing to win in digital world.


It was more to reduce the distance between the patient and the proposition. What the speakers advocated was to --


Re imagine as a solution provider company and not as an asset company .


The digital technology bridges the GAP and simplify .


The key for survival is customer reach & brand exposure. Mindset and attitude to interprete data and make use of the data is important.


1.  It reduces the distance between the patient and the proposition.

2.  There must be a mindset and attitude to interpret data and make use of the data

3.  Plug the issue on CONTINUITY ( Attrition/Gap of visit) & CONSISTENCY  ( What you plan and what you do inside the doctor chamber is different )

4.  Focus on Core issues while building for tomorrow 

5.  Challenges are many like people with right skills and competencies are in short supply

6.  People are starved of technology and we have the power to either accelerate it or limit it.

7.  Fixed mindsets are a threat while growth mindset is a challenge.

8.  3 shifts in leadership development {1} Redefining our jobs {2} Competency Trap,{3} Develop holistically. 

9.  Our Marketing has to bridge the gap between Knowledge, skills and execution  Full scale adoption of digital health technology Eco Systems.


Mobile communications, the cloud, advanced analytics, and the Internet of Things are among the innovations that are starting to transform the healthcare industry in the ways they have already transformed the media, retail, and banking industries. Pharma executives are well aware of the disruptive potential and are experimenting with a wide range of digital initiatives. Yet many find it hard to determine what initiatives to scale up and how, as they are still unclear what success looks like in the digital economy.


Competing in the digital economy needs a fundamental change in mindset in :


Business model – not selling products but engaging customers
Currency – not money, but data
Competitive advantage – not quality of product but quality of experience that we can offer to customers.

To be prepared for the digital economy, we need INTENT, CONTENT, STRATEGY and SKILLS.


These are the 4-pillars of any digital strategy required to compete profitably in the digital economy.

1. One has to understand the need for an integrated multi channel strategy to be adopted in the business model

2. One has to discover how we can make multi channel marketing smarter using customer data we already have

3. See how to define ROI by replacing “measurement plans” with “engagement plans”.

4. Explore the unique considerations for building integrated plans and content in multi channel marketing.

5. Learn about the new skills required for a marketing professional in the new hyper connected world.


Competing Successfully in the Digital Economy Customer Engagement – the Content Marketers must use customer data cleverly to create engagement opportunities.


If Content is king – how do we know what is the best content to create?


Is content best created or curated ?


If content is king, distribution is queen – One must understand channel preferences of customers and focus on tailor-making content .


Few questions:


  1. How does one define ROI here, what parameters can be measured to define success ?
  2. What are the key challenges for pharma marketers to go-digital and how to overcome them ?
  3. If a digital strategy be multi-channel then what is the role of integration ?
  4. What does a pharma professional look like in the new world ?
  5. : New skill sets in a hyper-connected world ?

What is the role of technology in L&D for sales/marketing teams and the role of technology for self-development Session ?   


Care is evolving:


Healthcare is moving from a focus on addressing point-in-time issues toward coordinated, continuous health management. The need to provide ongoing management of chronic diseases and to predict and prevent severe episodes and events offers new opportunities and places new communication demands on every member of the healthcare team, including pharmaceutical companies. Sensor technology, allows continuous collection of physiological data (for example, electroencephalograph, electrocardiogram, movement, heart rate, and glucose levels), which could vastly improve disease management by providing real-time status reports that can alert providers to impending patient problems.


When scaled broadly, these innovations also may reduce the need for many courses of treatment.


Pharmaceutical companies need to be at the forefront of developing “beyond the pill” services that deliver value to patients and evolve from a mind-set that measures success based largely on the number of prescriptions written.


Phygital is the new buzz word -- Digital augments the work of Pharma field force.


While digitization changes how doctors consume medical information,pharma marketeers hesitate to let go of physical marketing tactics.The focus remains on deploying a large field force to visit doctors at hospitals and clinics.


Now with the digitization which changed how doctors consumed drug information and pharma was left with no choice but to develop apps and other online platform or resources for doctors which it reluctantly did.


Is then PHYGITAL the pharma way forward ?


While issues of privacy are important by mapping the patients journey & examining the inter-relations between patients,physicians and payors,pharma can gain important insights that can help it to rethink,re imagine and re purpose pharma business models from current redundant and static ways of doing business to the one that is relevant to changing times& aspirations of patients & physicians.


Pharma should focus on providing a seamless experience across all the channels to ensure relationship with Doctors/Clinicians.


The organisations which implemented took 4 simple steps to bring in the transformation keeping customers core to all the activities :


STEP 1: Use existing organisational structure to begin the digital activities { 1-3 months}

STEP 2 : Encourage experimentation to build digital capabilities { 6-9 months}

In parallel,create a new structure that focuses on digital transformation { 1-3 months}

Gradually embed digital innovation into existing structure { 6-9 months}

Companies have to partner with tech companies,with data-management companies, providers in ways that can deliver a positive outcome so that we can improve the efficiency of that system.


Digital transformation as “a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitisation of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation's employees, customers, suppliers, partners, and stakeholders.”


It's a shift in behaviour and processes that is affecting all industries, including the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry. Digital is empowering patients to play a more active role in their own care and making processes more efficient for providers.





Secondary Research & seminar attendance