The COVID-19 pandemic has dominated the landscape of healthcare and drugs in 2020, overshadowing all other developments. It is expected to continue to do so in the upcoming year as well. It is thus difficult to ignore COVID-19 as a challenge – a challenge that can be the springboard for new endeavors. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic is a landmark event in the pharmaceutical businesses as well. It has gone to the extent of making big pharmas rethink how they facilitate business on a number of levels – many of the alterations difficult to undo in the long run. These alterations were fueled by the dire need for effective COVID-19 vaccinations and therapies required worldwide. As a result, the industry which has traditionally been viewed with distrust by the broader public is now uniquely poised to set an example.

The pharmaceutical business has changed drastically in the year following the COVID-19 pandemic. There has been the introduction of many new trends in the pharmaceutical industry. Newer and quicker technology has been employed in the discovery of suitable medicines and vaccines to guard against the deadly virus. In the entire history of humankind, never before has a vaccine been created within a year of the disease becoming known to humans – thanks to the pharmaceutical industry.

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This article lists down the inception of a few trends in the pharmaceutical industry that the global COVID-19 pandemic has brought about.

One of the first new trends spotted was the automation of pharma distribution chains. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for improved access to vaccinations, oxygen and medication amongst others. As a result of this, automation has risen as the apparent solution to this problem. The use of automation in the pharmaceutical industry’s supply chain will make life-saving medications and medical supplies more affordable, adaptable, streamlined, and glitch-free.

Secondly, we come upon a trend focusing on the fact that the conduct of clinical trials has undergone a significant change. Even prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a pressing demand for more efficient clinical trials. As a result of the norms pertaining to the COVID appropriate behavior such as social distancing and quarantine, it was critical that regulatory bottlenecks holding up clinical studies be removed as quickly as possible so that life-saving medication could be made available to the public. And once those were removed, the time duration required for the development of vaccines and other medicines decreased drastically. Looking forward, clinical trial methods are being improved by an increasing number of applications, and newer technologies are expected to be adopted to expedite clinical trials for newer and better medications.

Digital technology in pharma offers a wide range of opportunities such as-

  1. Apps, portals, websites, and other digital technologies have for patient assistance and education, relationship building, data sharing along with monitoring of health indicators or disease progression;
  2. Promoting patient-centeredness and self-management of illness through relevant education.

Next, we also have seen the use of artificial intelligence in the process of drug discovery. The pharmaceutical businesses rely heavily on research and development and there is a critical shortage of cutting-edge, new medications in the market presently. Therefore, it will save time and costs to utilize artificial intelligence in the pharma Industry, enabling in-need drugs to be available at lower costs. AI algorithms’ ability to process information more quickly and accurately also while maintaining complete and up-to-date records makes the implementation of AI in the pharmaceutical industry essential. Earlier and more accurate identification of an illness may lead to earlier treatment intervention with more precisely targeted medications. Artificial Learning along with Machine Learning insights into patient pathways can assist pharma companies to determine where and how to provide goods and services allowing precision medicine and patient/system-oriented value through improved outcomes. Data mining of patient records has the potential to improve our understanding of the disease, locate clinical trial participants and investors quickly and drive the development of more inventive research plans. However, the use of AI in the larger healthcare context provides both possibilities and difficulties for pharmaceutical companies – with data security being a particular concern.

The digitalization of the pharmaceutical sectors took us by storm, as it was a major change during and post the COVID era. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the pharma groups had already started embracing digitalization and its reliance on the same has only come to be stronger. Top pharmaceutical firms provide their staff with digital tools that allow them to continue working even from home. With the use of such digital tools, organizations may quickly and easily gain access to critical data on demand without jeopardizing the security of the same. Governments can also benefit from digitizing – resulting in better management of vaccination campaigns, national health care facilities, and public healthcare data. Even when the COVID-19 haze clears, this change will have far-reaching implications for the operational trends of the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, many digital leaders like IBM, Amazon, and Google are embracing such chances to build virtual platforms for customized patient communications in other sectors of the healthcare system as a model.

Another observable trend was the healthcare system moving towards being more patient-centric. The necessity for patient-centric healthcare was one of the major shifts that the pandemic brought about in the pharmaceutical sector. Medical practitioners are now aware of the fact that no two patients with the same condition will respond in the same way to a single therapy. For example, patients with mild symptoms of COVID-19 responded to treatment in a significantly different manner when compared to those patients with severe symptoms.

Lastly, new trends were also spotted in the production of medicines such as the gradual transformation of the manufacturing operations. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about increasing pressure on the pharmaceuticals to change their production processes as the market demands more sophisticated and cost-effective medications. Organ engineering, regenerative medicine, and tissue engineering are becoming more common applications for bioprinters and 3D printers. These applications have had a significant influence on the pharmaceutical industry’s manufacturing processes, thereby revolutionizing them.

With all these new trends, there is no doubt that the pharmaceutical industry is headed for a major change that would boost its growth. Hence, the need for competent pharmacists is growing at an all-time high, thus making it an excellent time to pursue a career in this field.

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