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Top Trends in the Pharmaceutical Industry

Historically, the pharmaceutical industry has been resistant to change and slow to act. But the COVID-19 pandemic pandemic has been a paradigm-shifting event that jump-started the entire healthcare sector and pharmaceutical industry. The century-defining moment forced large and small companies alike to respond with alacrity as they worked to develop COVID-19 vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics, and new technologies to overcome the virus.

For medical and biotech companies, R&D is accelerated, digitization swept the industry, and workplaces are now remote. Along the way, companies discovered new challenges and bold technological solutions.

But, as we continue to navigate the pandemic, the question remains whether or not the changes will last. Is this the new normal? If so, what does that mean for the future of the industry? Will these changes be enough to address the threats to the pharmaceutical industry?

Today, we’ll discuss the key trends in the pharmaceutical industry going into 2022.

Trend #1

Continued Shifts in Consumer Behavior & Attitudes

Consumer behavior and attitudes underwent major changes in response to the pandemic. And for the majority of healthcare providers (80%), these persona changes are considered the number one issue facing pharmaceutical companies in the future.

While this can encompass a range of attitudes, Deloitte research points at several consumer trends that have only been accelerated by the pandemic, including:

Increased use of digital technology and willingness to share data – Consumers are more willing than ever to use digital tools to monitor their health, order prescriptions, and communicate with healthcare providers. By and large, medical consumers increasingly believe that these tools and trackers can help change behavior for the better.

Interest in and use of telehealth services – The pandemic increased medical consumer adoption of virtual visits. This grew from 15% to 19% between 2019-2020, then jumped to 28% by 2021.

Interest in tools to make decisions about their care or prescriptions – Out-of-pocket American consumers want the ability to price shop and see what other consumers have to say before deciding on care treatment.

In response to shifting consumer attitudes, big pharma companies are rapidly embracing a patient-centric ethos that champions better communication, collaboration, and openness. And this movement isn’t limited to just the relationship between providers and patients but among the entire healthcare ecosystem, including:

Patient advocacy groups
Health systems
Health Plans
Technology providers
Wellness companies
Trend #2

Digital Solutions to the Forefront

The emergence of new technologies was underway before the pandemic, but the forced shift to remote work and digital solutions fast-tracked this trend. For example, telehealth services – which are both patient-centric and a means of protection for patients and providers alike – gained widespread prominence. Thanks to information and communication technologies (ICT), patients could obtain a prescription or consult a doctor from the safety of their homes.

Despite digital solutions experiencing early adoption, the convenience they offer is the most compelling argument why they will become a lasting feature of the pharmaceutical and healthcare landscapes.

According to researchers at BMC Public Health, telehealth services provide various benefits, particularly in non-emergency and routine care cases, including:

Reduces use of resources in healthcare centers
Improves access to care and caregivers
Minimizes risk of COVID transmission
Provides a convenient and affordable way to perform routine checkups

Telehealth services aren’t the only digital innovation the pharmaceutical industry is turning to drive efficiency and adapt to the shifting landscape. Per PR Wire:

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Companies are using digital platforms to maintain stock of their essential medications and other medical supplies. Automating manufacturing processes and warehouses are playing an important role as the need for increased data availability rises… Digital tools will also enable some key business processes—such as auditing or product release—to be done remotely, potentially decreasing the risk of disruption while improving efficiencies.”

This demonstrates that biopharma companies are more willing than ever to embrace technological tools that help them provide better, more effective therapies. This type of disruptive innovation in pharma will become critical for companies in order to keep up and provide quality solutions. For instance, a growing number of pharmaceutical and medical device companies are now leveraging insights management platforms – such as Within3 – to help identify thought leaders in the life science industry, connect all parties in meaningful discussion and information sharing, and discover actionable takeaways that inform team decision-making.

Trend #3

Cyber Threats are Increasing In Response to Digitalism

Cybersecurity is another leading concern for big pharma leaders.1 This makes sense. A successful cyberattack on a company that produces life-saving drugs, devices, or interventions could potentially interrupt production, which could then put lives in jeopardy.

10% of pharma manufacturers were at high risk of a ransomware attack

In May, Black Kite Cybersecurity evaluated the cybersecurity posture of the 200 top global pharmaceutical companies and 166 of their third-party vendors. Black Kite discovered that 10% of pharma manufacturers were at high risk of a ransomware attack. Other notable findings included:

The average cost of a pharmaceutical cyberattack is $31.1 million.
Medium-sized pharmaceutical companies are most susceptible to a ransomware attack.
12%+ of vendors are likely to incur a ransomware attack.
Nearly half of all pharmaceutical companies have 1,000+ employee credentials leaked.

The embrace of internet of things (IoT) tools within pharma only create further vulnerabilities and exposures that savvy hackers could exploit. And the consequences of a successful attack could be grave, including the potential for stolen IP, lost clinical trials, damaged reputation, litigation, and so on.


So, what are the most common cyber threats pharma needs to prepare for? They include:

Malware and ransomware
Third-party vendors
Phishing attacks
IoT breaches
Employee error or negligence

These are just a few of the more common problems the pharma industry faces. When all it takes is a single security breach to jeopardize the success of a company and the health of consumers, it’s vital that pharmaceutical companies prioritize risk mitigation and cybersecurity.

Trend #4

Increased Patient Engagement

Patients want more say at each step of their care journey.

Modern healthcare consumers want greater involvement when it comes to making decisions about their care and pharmaceutical interventions. Put simply, patients want more say at each step of their care journey.

Here, patient engagement is the name of the game. And for life science organizations, that means involving end-consumers in every aspect of development, including trials, drug design, and decision-making processes.

Once more, digital technologies have facilitated this trend. There are now new ways for patients to collaborate with drug and device developers and participate in trials. For instance, virtual trials and remote monitoring make it possible to involve an even greater number of patients in studies.

Trend #5

High-Tech Solutions for R&D

Going forward, digital technology will continue to be intertwined in the R&D process. Innovations in artificial intelligence can help accelerate both drug discovery and drug development pipelines. And machine learning makes it possible to optimize anything from pharmaceutical manufacturing processes to marketing and post-launch strategies.

But what startups and technology trends are set to impact the pharmaceutical industry in 2022 and beyond?

According to the Global Startup Heat Map, the top ten areas of focus for technology companies within R&D include:

Artificial intelligence
Big data & analytics
Flexible production
Precision medicine
Blockchain technology
Additive manufacturing
Extended reality
Real-world data
Digital Therapeutics
Curative therapies

As these technologies continue to evolve and become an even more permanent fixture of the pharmaceutical landscape, industry leaders are expecting massive shakeups on the horizon. From how pharmaceutical companies develop their products to the ways they interact with consumers, digitalism has reshaped the entire life sciences sector.

Trend #6

A Global Marketplace

Thanks to digital technologies, many companies in the pharmaceutical sector are now setting their sights on global expansion.

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According to the Global Pharma and Healthcare Market Forecast:

The market size is projected to reach $1.57 trillion by 2027, up from $1.12 trillion in 2020. Currently, North America controls 50% of the consumption market share. But Asia-Pacific, with its 25% market share, is seen as the most lucrative destination for expansion.

The widespread availability and adoption of modern solutions have made such international growth more possible than ever. What once was a logistics nightmare is now made effortless with the help of digital engagement and collaboration solutions that help companies manage insights across teams and geographies. Teams of researchers can operate from different countries seamlessly. Using insights management platforms like Within3, it becomes easier for organizations to communicate, share information, review data, and engage KOLs or critical stakeholders, no matter where they are based.


For pharmaceutical companies that have considered global operations, now’s the perfect time to do so.


The Digital Solution for a Modern Pharmaceutical Company

COVID-19 has accelerated the digital revolution within the pharmaceutical industry. Going forward, companies must partner with the right technologies or else be left behind.


This is where Within3 can be a differentiator in your organization and help you stay atop current trends in the pharmaceutical industry.


Our insights management platform means pharmaceutical companies can abandon slow and fragmented insight-gathering methods that rely on manual processes. Network analytics and social listening enable better expert selection, and virtual advisory board meetings or other discussions are more productive, with AI-powered natural language processing to surface key results. From development to delivery, we provide tools that make it possible to collaborate and engage with key stakeholders in a way that drives better business results.


How does our solution prepare you for the pharma world of tomorrow? Request a demo today.


  1. Deloitte. Biopharma leaders prioritize R&D, technological transformation, and global market presence.
  2. Deloitte. A Consumer-Centered Future of Health.
  3. NCBI. The role of telehealth during COVID-19 outbreak: a systematic review based on current evidence.
  4. PR News Wire. Pharmaceutical Drugs Market Players Focus On Digital Solutions To Mitigate Long-Term Risks In Terms Of The COVID-19 Impact
  5. BlackKite. The 2021 Ransomware Risk Pulse: Pharmaceutical Manufacturing.
  6. Startus. Top 10 Pharma Industry Trends & Innovations in 2021
  7. Global News Wire. Global Pharma and Healthcare Market Size 2021 By Emerging Trends.