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Customer Experience and Design

McKinsey Advises Pharma: Focus On Solutions, Not Assets


In a recent post, I took an in-depth look at the first of three critical themes for success in the digital age, as identified by McKinsey & Company through interviews with 20 pharma executives: 

  1. Dramatic changes in the traditional roles and dynamics of healthcare stakeholders have fundamental implications for pharma companies.

In today’s post, I’d like to take a closer look at the second theme:

  1. It is time to reimagine them as solutions companies, not asset companies.

Traditionally, the pharma value proposition has been focused on assets: products and pills. But, the digital revolution has led consumers to expect solutions, so pharma is now being challenged to integrate “digital” with its assets to convert them into solutions to real-life problems faced by their customers.

A fascinating example described in the article is a partnership involving Google, DexCom, Novartis, and Sanofi, focused on combating diabetes:

“Among the approaches is uploading glucose and insulin levels to the cloud in real time through contact lenses (worn by the patient) that measure glucose levels in tears; a bandage-sized sensor sends the data to the cloud. This technology can greatly improve the quality of diabetic care and help prevent complications through the real-time detection of any aberrations in glucose and insulin levels, which would trigger the right type of medical attention.”

In addition to partnering with technology companies, pharma needs to provide solutions that cross therapy types and even manufacturers. There’s that theme again: pharma needs to play well with others. We’ve seen this kind of collaboration in limited capacities, such as for AIDS and cancer research, but the demand for effective health solutions – no matter who discovered what or who owns which patent – is steadily growing. And, in order to stay competitive, pharma needs to significantly shift its operating paradigm to meet this demand.

For ideas on how to make the switch from asset-focused to solution-focused, contact us.

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Marin Richeson

Marin joined the life sciences industry in 2001. Over the course of her tenure, she has held roles in clinical finance, IT, quality assurance, and validation. The diversity of her experience provides her with a unique perspective on the interconnectedness of this complex, multi-faceted industry. Marin Richeson is a lead business consultant in Perficient's life sciences practice.

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