Shifting Patterns in the Pharmaceutical Industry




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This favourable combination of supply and demand factors served the industry well. The global research-based pharmaceutical industry –comprising those firms focused primarily on the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription medicines – saw a big expansion in the later decades of the twentieth century. The principal drivers for this are well known: a pharmacological revolution in the discovery and development of new medicines; public demand for better healthcare from informed and activist post-war ‘baby boomers’; and health systems that – in developed countries – were able to finance the growth in demand from their citizens.

However, by the late twentieth and early twenty-first century there were signs that both such factors were now putting this model under strain.

The paper examines the sources of these strains and identifies the developments in science, the economics of healthcare and regional economic power that are likely to determine the future of the global industry.

Author: Michael Owen, Chairman and Fellow of SAMI Consulting Ltd, October 2011

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