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3 Strategic Themes from the 2017 GPhA Annual Meeting

Last week, we were fortunate to attend this year’s GPhA Annual Meeting in Orlando. As always, the event offered opportunities for networking and learning from the best of the generics industry. Over the course of this week, we’re sharing a three-part blog series recapping the key learnings from the event. These recaps will approach those learnings from three perspectives – strategy, technology, and operations. Below, our management consulting partner Joe D’Ambrosio explores three key themes around strategy and innovation from the 2017 GPhA Annual Meeting.

With a single name change, the former Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) sent a powerful message to patients, government officials, and the rest of the life sciences industry. Unveiling their new name at the 2017 GPhA Annual Meeting last week, the newly branded Association for Accessible Medicine (AAM) means to take charge of the conversation and, in the words of Mylan CEO Heather Bresch, “own the story of savings.”

After 3 days attending the conference, it’s clear that “owning that story” means generic manufacturers are focused on 3 main areas – accessibility, innovation, and value.

Generics executives are focused on access.

The rebranding of GPhA to AAM isn’t the only signal that the generics industry is focusing on accessibility. The newest campaign launched by AAM, “Keeping Medicines in Reach” focuses on the positive outcomes for patients as a result of access to generics.

This educational outreach is just one way in which generics companies will address the accessibility challenge. Leading generics businesses will require innovative solutions and strategic approaches to develop new partnerships, enter new markets, and target high-priority therapeutic areas – all through the lens of improving patient access.

Generics executives are focused on innovation.

Generic drug companies have enabled billions of dollars in savings for patients every year. The economic model for generics is based entirely on the principal of free market competition. Yet, challenges such as the long approval pathway for biosimilars, the consolidation of customer purchasing power, and the changing economics of healthcare are creating a significant amount of pressure on generics manufacturers. Generics executives have to be more innovative to navigate the current environment.

Leading generics companies will use innovation to transform their business model by:

  • continuing to diversify their portfolios to include a broader variety of products and therapeutic alternatives,
  • innovating technologies and capabilities around new formulations, delivery methods, dosage forms, etc., and
  • exploring beyond-the-pill products and/or services to increase therapeutic value and patient outcomes.

Generics executives are focused on getting closer to patients and reclaiming the narrative of the value they provide.

Patient engagement was a constant theme throughout the conference. Engagement is especially important as the patient’s sphere of influence is now bigger than ever. As with any drug manufacturer, there’s a clear need to educate the patient on the safety and efficacy of the drug as a means for improving adherence and demonstrating therapeutic value.

But greater than that, generics manufacturers are looking to engage the patient in the generics narrative – a narrative that includes some impressive results. As stated during the conference, generics fill 90% of prescriptions in the United States and they account for just 27% of the cost. Also, the generics industry is one of the few (perhaps only) pieces of the healthcare system that is in a state of deflation. When you consider both facts combined with the recent scrutiny on drug prices, it’s clear that the generics industry has a story that’s getting lost. Telling and demonstrating that story to patients will be a key strategic focus for generics manufacturers in the coming year.

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