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2019 Life Sciences Industry Trends

The life sciences sector is inherently complex, operating under different pressures and influences compared to other industries. While the industry as a whole is often targeted as slow to adapt to change, 2018 saw a concerted focus to address past mistakes and adapt to the modern healthcare landscape.

Some of the life sciences industry trends, such as efforts to disrupt pricing models, have yet to gain significant traction but precedents have been set indicating the rise of value-based models. Meanwhile, organizations are investing heavily into therapeutic innovations in gene therapy, cell therapy, diagnostics, and biomarker testing. Life sciences organizations also continue to explore the utility of AI, machine learning, and blockchain technology to augment standard models and processes.

Below, we discuss in depth the critical trends playing a role in shaping the life sciences industry in 2019. Leveraging our experience in this space, we aim to point out where leaders can position themselves accordingly to take advantage of new opportunities.

Administration Pricing Efforts Not Gaining Much Traction

In 2018, anyone reading a headline or following the evening news caught the high-profile buzz surrounding drug pricing. Most notably, in July, President Donald Trump attacked Pfizer’s pricing strategy on Twitter, shaming the company for “merely taking advantage of the poor and others unable to defend themselves, while at the same time giving bargain basement prices to other countries in Europe & elsewhere.” In response to the president’s tirade, Pfizer agreed to postpone its pricing increases, while its peers similarly tempered price increases. Despite the headlines, the pricing back-and-forth has not yet yielded decisive action for either manufacturers or the federal government.

“Requests and public shaming haven’t worked [to lower drug prices],” said Michael Rea, chief executive of RX Savings Solutions, a company that helps health plans and employers seek lower cost prescription medicines.

As the pricing debate continues into 2019, many are wondering how legislators will respond and whether or not more stringent pricing policies are coming. In 2018, the Trump administration attempted to make good on its pledge to lower the cost of prescription drug prices, proposing a rule requiring drug companies to give list prices for their products in television ads. As regulators and legislators continue to explore direct efforts for addressing pricing, there have also been more ancillary efforts, such as increasing the availability of generics.

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