The US Pharma Industry in 2020: the Professionals’ Opinions and Forecasts

The healthcare is one of the most significant impact factors, which influences the majority of the aspects of people’s lives. And the pharma industry plays a crucial role here. The point is that most diseases and conditions cannot be effectively treated without medicines. Even those people, who consider themselves to be relatively healthy, have to turn to pharmacies from time to time. In fact, patients visit such facilities more frequently than hospitals, since there are many conditions that can be safely treated at home with the help of over-the counter medications, but without any assistance of doctors.

Pharma Industry

Therefore, the current pharma tendencies is the hot issue, which is frequently discussed by both pharmacists and patients. So, let us discuss the pharma professionals’ opinions about the current state of the industry and their outlooks on the future.

First of all, one should say that many experts are rather optimistic about the potential of the US pharma industry. Still, the majority of them highlight that there is a wide range of challenges to overcome.

Staff Reductions

During the recent years the number of personnel working at all sorts of pharmacies was significantly cut. The point is that top managers strive to get the most out of every position. They are not likely to hire new people or to continue paying salaries to steady employees, if that does not guarantee an increase in sales volume or incomes.

No doubt, that seems to be reasonable and logic. But, on the other hand, according to Canadian Health&Care Mall, in many cases such a strategy makes a negative impact on the quality of service and, as a result, on the customers’ health and well-being.

It is noteworthy that the situation in hospitals is similar. The reason ― the implementation of pay-for-performance models, which presuppose the use of ambulatory treatment methods for as many patients as possible. Such an approach allows to reduce staff and to significantly cut expenses. The problem is that there are patients, who need hospital treatment, as well. And that treatment requires the involvement of a significant number of medical professionals. Sure, in the face of staff reductions that may be a problem.

Lack of Professionals

Despite the fact that the number of vacancies in the pharma sphere is being reduced, managers are experiencing problems with filling positions, since there are not so many candidates willing to work in such a stressful environment. The regulations and the requirements are frequently toughened, but there is no adequate compensation for that.

One of the most pressing issues is the lack of highly skilled pharmacists, who specialize in compounding sterile medications. The demand for such medicines is high enough, while the number of the corresponding specialists is very limited. More to the point, a significant part of those, who agree to work in this sphere, lack experience and training. And one should note that in the case of sterile remedies any quality problems frequently lead to life-threatening and even fatal health consequences. Sure, the US healthcare authorities strive to take the situation under control and introduce new regulations, like USP <800> or USP <797>. But that causes serious challenges as well. In many cases, in order to comply with new requirements, facilities have to find and invest millions of dollars.

All those problems make a negative impact on the number of candidates willing to join the US healthcare team.

Opioid Issues

According to official reports, the rate of opioid deaths fell by 5% over the recent time. That is the good news. In addition, researchers claim that there is a reduction in the number of high school kids, who have access to these substances or use them. Meanwhile, many experts stress that the authorities should pay more attention to treating addicted people. Because of the lack of the sufficient medical support, those addicted patients frequently switch to illicit opioids, which are characterized by high lethality. And, according to the official data, the rate of lethality associated with the use of such products has significantly increased.

Supply Challenges

According to statistics, 88% of active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and 40% of ready medications in the USA market are manufactured overseas. And experts claim that there is a range of problems related to such import. First, the US pharma market often faces shortages. In addition, a significant part of companies, producing APIs and selling them to the USA, do not meet even basic safety requirements. For example, they often fail to receive certificates of analysis.

Certainly, when it comes to medical treatment, access to safe and effective medicines plays a key role. So, when authorities in some country fail to provide doctors and patients with such medications, that depreciates the majority of other achievements in the sphere of healthcare.

However, the authorities are not the only players, who can change the situation. Here are the useful tips for pharmacists, which will help to protect the safety of customers:

  • First of all, it is advisable to check the source of each and every API. Sure, a pharmacist can directly ask a supplier about that.
  • Besides, it is preferable to investigate how a manufacturer chosen ensures the quality of goods.
  • In addition, when pharmacists start buying APIs coming from the USA or the EU only, that will motivate suppliers to stop offering materials from doubtful sources.

To sum up, one should highlight that, despite all the current problems and challenges, many pharma professionals feel optimistic about the future of the industry and believe that in 2020 there will be numerous changes for the better. To be more precise, they expect that a large amount of new biosimilars will enter the market and cut drug expenses, authorities will start regulating drug pricing, the operation of pharmacy benefit managers will become more transparent, the prior authorization process will become standardized, patients will get better service, healthcare services will be more personalized.

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