Keeping tabs on pharma: Physicians share their 2021 pharma demands and industry accelerates sustainability efforts

Find out what is on the wish list of US and European physicians from the pharma industry after they shared their opinions and concerns on healthcare

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This week, primary care physicians and specialists shared their observations and perceptions on how the pharma industry is changing following the initial disruptions of the Covid-19 pandemic, while pharma has been looking to a more sustainable future with solutions to reduce its use of plastic in healthcare products.

Physicians clash over where pharma should focus development efforts

An annual predications report by Apollo Intelligence has highlighted a growing interest in drug discovery and a call for dropping drug prices among healthcare physicians in Europe and the US. There were differing views, however, over where the pharma industry should focus its development efforts in how it can enhance business value in healthcare. 

More than 1,000 primary care physicians and specialists from the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain shared their insights and perspectives for 2021 following the disruption of the Covid-19 pandemic. While the call for lower drug prices dropped in priority from 86 per cent in 2020 to 67 per cent in 2021, the majority of healthcare experts concurred this to be the primary change they would like to see happen this year.

Nearly twice as many European physicians sounded their desire for increased drug development and discovery, believing this to be the trend to have the largest impact on the life science market in 2021. European physicians cited increased investment in research as a priority for improving healthcare, whereas US physicians said shifting their focus toward consumer-friendly health-tech, such as telemedicine, wearables and monitoring devices, would lead to better quality of care.

Daniel Fitzgerald, CEO of Apollo Intelligence, said: “We continue to see confidence in telemedicine from physicians in all of the key markets we surveyed, but nearly as many expressed concerns over its privacy vulnerabilities as well.”

More than 60 per cent of US and European respondents noted they were witnessing increasing privacy concerns on health-tech due to the industry not yet being prepared to manage the increased uses of digital.

"This year’s prediction data showed us the polarized perceptions of the pharma industry, even in a time of amazing innovation and industry, with a fleet of Covid-19 vaccines hitting the market,” Fitzgerald added. “There is a great deal of commonality when looking closely at the Covid-19 outcomes in the US and Europe, yet the research reveals curious differences in their Covid-19views, with the most prominent being around vaccine and drug development.”

Pharma industry accelerates sustainable development goals following surge in disposable material usage

VinylPlus has unveiled a new project called VinylPlus Med designed to address pharma’s sustainability effects in healthcare across Europe by encouraging hospitals to recycle discarded single-use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) medical devices.

PVC is the most common plastic used in disposable medical devices including oxygen and anesthetic masks, tubing, IV and dialysis bags. Many of these devices are used once and for a short period of time on non-infectious patients.

The Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the crucial role played by single-use plastic medical devices in the prevention and control of infection in hospitals. Rising demand for these disposable items has shed light on the challenges of properly managing and discarding them after use.

VinylPlus has been developing a recycling scheme for single-use PVC medical devices with Europe Hospitals in Belgium and harbors an aim to recycle REACH-compliant PVC waste into a wide range of value products to market across Europe.

Brigitte Dero, managing director of VinylPlu, remarked: “Starting with a pilot project in Belgium, we are excited to make medical plastics more circular together with our partners.”

Evelyn Vass, operational director at Europe Hospitals, commented: “At the Europe Hospitals, our focus has been on energy consumption, with the goal to continuously reduce our cost and environmental footprint. Now we want to concentrate more on the efficient management of our plastic waste. Our single-use plastic medical devices that we use everyday should be recycled.

“Our staff is motivated to enhance the sustainability performance of our healthcare facilities,” Vass added. “We all believe that it is our responsibility to save money as well as preserve resources and the environment.”

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