Beyond the pill | Moving towards value-added services

A focus on customers has always been one of the main pillars of the pharmaceutical industry. However, this is often narrowed down to the creation of product-centric marketing strategies with a strong customer orientation. 

While this strategy is widely adopted by modern pharmaceutical companies, in recent years, its effectiveness has begun to wane. The integration of value-added services and strategies provides a new perspective on patient care. This novel approach promises to create great advantages for the pharmaceutical companies who adopt it and might become the future of medicine.


What are the current challenges in the pharma industry? 

The main challenge faced by pharmaceutical companies is that the full potential of medical service strategies is currently not being realized. The strategies currently being used by healthcare providers do not reflect the true capabilities of the pharmaceutical industry.

The operational efficiency of pharmaceutical companies is hindered by the following issues:

  • The aggressive competitive nature of the current pharmaceutical market, with a particular emphasis on speed to market.
  • A reduction in drug pipelines coupled with poor flexibility in drug manufacturing.
  • A shortage of skilled labor for critical positions in the STEM and healthcare industries, as well as in the education sector.
  • The increasing demand of patients for outcome-based solutions.
  • The onset of the covid-19 pandemic has caused considerable strain on the pharmaceutical industry as a whole.


What are value-added services in the pharmaceutical industry? 

Value-added medicine is the deployment of novel drugs and treatment methods designed to improve the quality of patient care and protect people against the risky side effects of many traditional pharmaceutical procedures. This shift in patient care brings many benefits to both patients and healthcare professionals.

The advantages of value-added medicine adoption include: 

  • The development of more efficient medicinal products
  • Improvements in the safety and tolerability profile of drugs
  • Improving the methods of administration
  • Creating drugs that are easier to use, thereby increasing patient adherence
  • A focus on giving the patient the tools and information needed to take an active role in the treatment of their condition

What are value-added medicines?


Why are pharmaceutical companies moving away from product-centric strategies and towards service-centric strategies? 

Value-added service strategies offer a considerable competitive advantage to pharmaceutical companies that adopt them. Value-added medicines may improve patient outcomes and avoid the dangerous health consequences associated with traditional treatment approaches.


4 ways to create value with patient-centric services

1. Creating a tailored approach to patient care

Value-added medicines can be designed to address the unmet needs of patients. The current one-size-fits-all approach used by most healthcare professionals fails to take many nuances particular to each patient. 

A study performed on physicians’ interpretations of heart disease symptoms shows that, under the current methodology, young women with health conditions are at a higher risk of being misdiagnosed. The study notes that physicians are misdirected due to their inability to accurately factor in gender, age, and psychological factors when performing a diagnosis (source).

Because all patients are different, a treatment method or combination of pills that work well on somebody can damage the health of another person. As our understanding of medicine develops, health care providers must give patients the knowledge and the tools they need to gain ownership of their physical and emotional wellbeing. Value-added medicines empower patients to take the reins of their own health. 

Instead of making big promises, value-added medicines offer patients a more comfortable and satisfactory treatment. For instance, better modes of administration and fewer side effects allow a person to deal with their condition while allowing for a more active lifestyle. This can have a massive change in their quality of life and contributes to adherence and better patient outcomes. 

What value-added medicines might bring to society


2. Developing more reliable and efficient birth control methods

Over the last decades, the development of contraceptive methods like the birth control pill has been guided more by marketing decisions than scientific ones. While the first hormonal contraception methods were meant only for the purpose of preventing fertilization and ovulation, many modern alternatives place an emphasis on lifestyle improvements like the reduction of pimples and mood swings, to the detriment of medical efficiency.

By approaching reproductive health as the concern of the individual and not a public health issue, the current birth control pill strategy has put the health of women in a vulnerable position. Furthermore, many women have fallen prey to misleading birth control-related advertisement material, leading to thousands of lawsuits (source).

In her book “Beyond the Pill: A 30-Day Program to Balance your Hormones, Reclaim your Body, and Reverse the Dangerous Side Effects of the Birth Control Pill”, author Jolene Brighten shines a light on the various ways oral contraceptives harm the health of women, from causing acne to painful periods and even more dangerous conditions such as endometriosis, cancer, and chronic infection (source).

While a value-added therapeutic approach will not be efficient at preventing pregnancy, it can help women who suffer from uncomfortable or painful periods to have a more agreeable menstrual cycle. Not only is the improvement of hormonal health a net positive for society, but it can also incentivize drug manufacturers to pursue the development of more precise hormonal contraceptives.

Value-added strategies for the improvement of hormonal health are: 

  • Discovering the root cause behind hormonal health issues. These may be caused by low progesterone, low testosterone, or estrogen dominance.
  • Teaching women methods to manage their period and help avoid inconveniences such as cramps, acne, stress, or PMS.
  • Focusing on detoxing the liver, healing the gut, supporting the adrenals and thyroid, and reversing metabolic issues. This may also help increase fertility and enhance mood.
  • Adopting a nutrition and supplement regimen with an emphasis on creating a balance in hormonal health.


3. Establishing sustainable healthcare systems 

Even though people in the modern age have longer lifespans, that doesn’t mean they are healthier than their counterparts from previous generations. A drastic increase in the aging population poses a series of challenges to health systems. 

The number of aging people is growing dramatically. Nowadays, there are over 600 million people aged 65 and over, accounting for around 9% of the world population. It is expected that, by 2050, this number will rise to 1.6 billion individuals or 17% of the global population (source).

Global healthcare is also damaged by patients’ poor health choices, especially in low-income countries where older populations are inherently at risk of various non-communicable health conditions. Chronic conditions are increasing among populations of all ages, which causes further strain on the system (source).

For the pharmaceutical industry, change is not only an advantage but also a necessity. The creation of new, innovative treatments represents the only hope for many people whose chances of improving their health narrow down by the day.  


4. Improving the R&D process

The full potential of the pharmaceutical industry is not being realized. Even though technologically-driven, customizable treatment options are possible to achieve with our current understanding of science, the lack of a patient-centric focus harms the research potential of many pharmaceutical companies.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), up to 40% of global healthcare spending is wasted through inefficiency, including the enactment of policies and practices that raise expenditure while being counter-productive to the betterment of public health. Changing the way medical resources are administered and implemented can potentially move most countries towards universal health coverage without an increase in spending (source).

A value-added service strategy integrates the needs of doctors and patients into the research and development process. A full understanding of the patient’s journey helps pharmaceutical developers identify, integrate, and deploy adaptable medicines. By focusing current technological efforts to improve people’s experience with health systems, drug companies can effectively enhance the quality of healthcare. 


Drug development services 

Through the adoption of value-added medicine, a drug company can create improved treatments using already-known molecules. By doing this, pharmaceutical companies can deliver products with additional health benefits while still benefitting from the brand recognition that characterizes their market initiatives.

Altus Formulations can help you deliver value-added services to your customers. It doesn’t matter if you’re working with an NCE, NME, or another type of substance. Our team of experts has the technology and skills to bring commercially and clinically meaningful improvements to both new and known molecules.

Value-added medicine development services