• Niklas Hall

Tech is re-defining pharma

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

Just 2 days ago, Apple presented the coming updates of the iPhone and iWatch. If you're into pharma – into the production or trading of pharma and medical devices, into medical services or even insurance, you just experienced a major, earthquake-like incident with massive implications for your business model.

Great complexity is best reduced by adding principle. In order to help you navigate the immediate future, this blog post focusses on three main areas in which technology is changing the pharma business as we speak:

  • Production

  • Distribution

  • Use

The main driver in all areas is disruptive, exponential technologies. Technologies that is shattering every known business model but holds immense potential for those who harness their power.


The main shift in production processes lies in the ability to move from mass production to mass-customization. The first requires a stable process and is – relatively – easy to handle. It is the hallmark of industrialized society. But increasingly, the ability to mass-customize – to handle a much more flexible production process to cater to the specific needs and wants of customers – is made able by new production methods.

DNA profiling, algorithms, and gene manipulation techniques will increasingly allow drugs to be made to fit individual patient profiles . Moreover, technology will enable these drugs to be made "on site".


Shaking up the value chain", McKinsey Quarterly, August 2018


As drugs will increasingly be produced "on site", everyone in the business of trading and distribution of drugs will be affected. Storage and transportation of mass produced, "off the shelf" items in scale will be less in demand.

More importantly, digitization and the application of AI (Artificial Intelligence) will eliminate the complexities of trading and distributing drugs – even in scale. Consequently, producers and end users will increasingly trade directly with each other. The middle men of the business will be circumnavigated and since eliminated entire.

To stay in business, B2B traders will need to up their game. This can be done by transforming their business and especially value proposition.

The technologies that will ultimately eliminate them ALSO can be used to eliminate their transactional costs. This eliminates the mark-up – the margins – which are their business model now. Instead, they can charge for the services they now provide – with greater emphasis and quality. This is a more sustainable business and will ensure that producers and end users alike will perceive them as not only "necessary", but indeed "relevant".

These technologies include the Acumex TMS and NSA.


With Apple's introduction of the iWatch 4.0, a wearable will – for the first time ever – allow you to perform an EKG. Just using your watch. At the press of a button, you can collect the data in a PDF file that you can send directly to your physician.

It also allows for constant monitoring of heart frequency and anomaly scan. It can even call emergency if the situation becomes critical. And give your GPS coordinates to first responders.

In general, "quantified self" technologies – by the means of IoT wearables and gadgets – will transform how we approach our personal health and any related issues. This has implications for the entirety of business models and relationships in the existing value chain, including insurance.

As an example, using a smartphone and a simple, IoT enabled thermometer, woman can now monitor their fertility with precision. No more pills or hormone-based devices. New services incorporating your smartphone like e.g. MySugr allows Type1 diabetics to easily monitor and handle their data (from multiple sources) and provide them with – not just easy overview – but also personalized coaching and advice that helps them manage and improve their everyday life.

Et cetera. In short, information technology is creating a major shift AWAY from "treating incidents" TOWARDS massively increased PREVENTION capabilities.


JUST ONE MORE THING These are all EXISTING technologies – EXISTING solutions. This is not some distant future – this is NOW. This is happening and if you are not in the process of planning for it, you are in the process of being left behind and of being rendered obsolete. The only way to proceed if you are part of the value chain is to start "doing" and do so with expediency.






#DeathByTech #Expediency


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