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Beyond the Pill

For many years there has been a huge push in the pharmaceutical industry to move “beyond the pill.” So what does this mean exactly? The main sources of revenue for the pharmaceutical industry are pills and medications. However, many believe there is opportunity to move past this narrow market and branch out into move comprehensive services and diversify revenue.

Looking further into this realization, there are two main reasons people are pushing for this shift. Firstly, much of the time, medications and pills are not enough for patients taking the pills to achieve the best health outcomes possible. Secondly, as pharmaceutical companies begin to dwindle, this new beyond the pill idea can fill in the gaps and create a new source of revenue. Big Pharma must seek alternatives to solely relying on the value of drugs.

  • digital health

Furthermore, the numbers back up these shifts as well. For example , 74% od asthma patients, 63% of diabetes patients, and 82% of schizophrenia patients expect pharmaceutical companies to do more for them than just help them with their medications.

Of course, moving beyond the pill means technology, the digital world, and IoT play a major role in the shift. Therefore, items like wearables, tele-health services, wellness programs, and digital chronic disease management are at the forefront of this large scale migration.

One of the goals of this shift is to further connect patients with the Pharma industry. Patients and customers are likely to find the most interesting and exciting shift lies within the new wearable and personalized technologies available to help improve their health and lifestyles. This is fantastic for the patients as it can help them take control of their health, monitor their own progress, etc., but the biggest positive is the long-term improved health outcomes for the patients.

  • digital health

Just as much as patients want their futures to be filled with positive outcomes and abundant health, Pharma want the same thing. The end goal is the same – this is something that both Pharma and patients can agree on, which is huge. It bridges the gap between the regular consumer and Big Pharma.

Example of Beyond the Pill: Novartis-Qualcomm

This massive partnership with worth around $100 million dollars and has even bigger benefits to patients, doctors, and Pharma. As we have discussed in previous blog posts, patient compliance has always been a struggle.

Yet, patient compliance is critical to patients, specifically in organ transplant patients. Novartis decided to address with issue head on with the Proteus pill, which has a built in chip/monitor. This tracks the patients on Diovan. Since tracking has begun, patient compliance went from a mere 30%, to 80% within a short span of six months. That is a huge jump and has immeasurable benefits. As Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Surgery at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York states, ‘“If we can save one patient from needing another transplant, we’ve saved a life and at least a half-million dollars,”’ said Dr. Tamir Miloh, ‘“The investment is relatively little and the benefit enormous.”’