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December 15th, 2016 - 0 Comments

The pharmaceutical industry is now moving from a blockbuster era to a technology-assisted patient experience. Though this phase has just taken off, it has created a significant impact on companies in terms of product development, resource management, and decision making.

Technology enhancement has brought many changes to the way we live; things around us are able to sense and communicate among themselves. Besides, they also perform various activities like data integration, storage, analysis and other user-centric activities.

A pharmaceutical value chain is complex and not necessarily technology driven. The regulations surrounding the industry are more stringent and need thorough vigilance. The application of Internet of Things (IoT) in the pharmaceutical industry will be the next phase of growth for pharma companies.

Connected technology in manufacturing, distribution and at end-user points helps companies to monitor the manufacturing plant or units, provide more visibility on quality control, eliminate counterfeiting of drugs, track drugs supply and demand, and enable a better patient experience. Connected technology primarily consists of physical objects with embedded sensors, actuators, computing devices and communication capabilities.

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Research and Development:

Better clinical trial management brings a product faster into the market. The use of tissue modeling and simulation techniques enables faster product development. The use of chips on a pill during clinical trials can continuously monitor a patient’s pharmacokinetic profiles, thus adjusting the drug dose by looking into safety and relevant adverse events associated with the product. The data generated by these trials can be analyzed, stored and directly shared with the regulatory authorities for a more transparent system.

Manufacturing Plant:

Manufacturing equipment connected with sensors offers an automated production line which can be supervised from any location at any time. Also, real time issues can be addressed instantaneously, reducing the downtime of the equipment. Besides, wastes are minimized, continuous quality checks are possible, production costs become lower, and production capacity increases, thus boosting the overall performance of the plant.

Distribution:

Counterfeiting of drugs is a major issue in the pharmaceutical industry. The products which move from the plant to the distribution channel confront various middle men with a chance to counterfeit the drugs. The use of RFID and various technology-assisted platforms to track the movement of the drug helps to fight the problem. Technology also helps companies to plan their inventory by tracking supply and demand.

Patient Involvement:

Patients are becoming more and more engaged and enabled to take the responsibility of their health. The growing market of health and fitness wearable devices shows how people are more inclined towards maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The availability of the vast amount of health-related information on the internet also empowers patients about their condition and helps them to compare healthcare products and services. Also, healthcare professionals can track their patients’ health and prescribe or adjust the medication with the data recorded in wearable devices.

The Internet of Things in the pharmaceutical industry offers the following benefits:

  1. Lower maintenance costs: Vendors and distributors will improve their operations, lower their inventory costs and optimize the value chain.
  2. Improved monitoring: The manufacturing process will be monitored with a real-time response, reducing the equipment downtime. This will help to increase productivity, minimize flaws and manage inventory.
  3. Better patient experience: Enables more patient involvement, provides the best quality medicines at lower costs, and increases the affordability of medicines.
  4. Improved decision making: the data communicated by censors are processed, stored and analyzed for better understanding and improved decision making for physicians and pharmaceutical companies.

The pharmaceutical industry is looking at different ways to cut costs and improve their processes. Medical bodies and governments across the world are striving to make treatment affordable with improved patient care. IoT offers the pharmaceutical industry robustness, and creates value, quality and agility, thus providing greater opportunities to grow, expand and transform to accept the new business models.

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