pharma competitive intelligence

The pharmaceutical industry is no stranger to the challenges and complexities involved in developing new drugs. In 2022, a study conducted by Deloitte revealed that the average cost of developing a new drug among the top 20 global biopharmaceutical companies had surged by 15% to a staggering US $2.3 billion.  

Furthermore, the process of bringing a drug to market involves navigating a lengthy and rigorous journey through clinical trials and regulatory approvals, spanning a daunting 10-15 years. In this high-stakes environment, where the risks are abundant and the financial stakes are sky-high, pharma companies must equip themselves with the necessary tools to stay ahead. 

This is where competitive intelligence emerges as a vital asset in the pharmaceutical landscape.  

Understanding Pharma Competitive Intelligence 

Competitive intelligence (CI) empowers organisations to derive insights from data, anticipate competitor actions, and recalibrate strategies on-the-go.  

A Merit expert adds, “By harnessing the power of competitive intelligence, pharma companies can gain a distinct advantage by making informed decisions, reducing risks, and ultimately achieving success in an industry defined by fierce competition and rapid innovation.” 

There are several benefits of CI in pharma; 

Competitive Intelligence optimises the drug development process 

Competitive intelligence plays a crucial role in enhancing the drug development process. By gathering insights on competitor activities, pharma companies can identify gaps in the market, unmet medical needs, and emerging therapeutic areas. 

This enables them to make informed decisions about target identification, drug design, and clinical trial design, ultimately increasing the chances of successful drug development. 

Automating healthcare industry due diligence 

In the fast-paced world of pharmaceutical business transactions, competitive intelligence provides valuable insights for due diligence.  

By analysing competitor pipelines, patent portfolios, and market positions, companies can assess the potential value and risks associated with mergers, acquisitions, and licensing deals.  

This informed decision-making ensures that partnerships and collaborations align with strategic objectives, leading to more successful and mutually beneficial alliances. 

Pharma brands can obtain an edge against competitors 

Competitive intelligence helps pharma companies establish and maintain a strong brand position in the market.  

By understanding their competitors’ marketing strategies, messaging, and positioning, companies can identify gaps and opportunities to differentiate their products effectively.  

This allows for the development of compelling marketing campaigns, targeted messaging, and improved market penetration, ultimately leading to increased brand recognition and market share. 

Effective product portfolio management 

Pharma companies often have diverse portfolios with multiple products at various stages of the product life cycle. Competitive intelligence enables effective portfolio management by providing insights into competitors’ product pipelines, launch timelines, and market performance.  

This information helps companies optimise resource allocation, prioritise investment, and make informed decisions regarding product development, expansion, or divestment to maximise revenue potential and reduce risks. 

Deeper understanding of the pharma market dynamics 

Understanding market dynamics and penetration is essential for successful commercialisation. Competitive intelligence provides valuable insights into market trends, customer preferences, and competitive landscapes.  

This information allows pharma companies to tailor their market entry strategies, pricing models, and distribution channels to effectively penetrate target markets. By staying ahead of the competition and adapting to evolving market demands, companies can gain a competitive edge and drive growth. 

Potential Challenges When Developing a CI Process & Best Practices 

Developing a competitive intelligence practice in the pharmaceutical industry comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some of the potential obstacles that pharma companies may face: 

Getting reliable pharma data 

One of the primary challenges is obtaining reliable and up-to-date data. The pharmaceutical industry operates within complex regulatory frameworks, making it difficult to access certain types of information. Additionally, gathering comprehensive data from diverse sources can be time-consuming and expensive.  

Best Practice for obtaining reliable pharma data 

Develop a more comprehensive and accurate data collection process by collaborating/ partnering with trusted data providers and industry experts to access specialised databases, regulatory insights, and market research reports. 

Invest in advanced data analytics tools and technologies to streamline data gathering and analysis, enable real-time monitoring and timely updates. 

Working with competent professionals 

Building a competent competitive intelligence team requires individuals with a combination of analytical skills, business acumen, and industry knowledge.  

However, finding professionals who possess the required expertise in both the pharmaceutical sector and competitive intelligence can be a challenge.  

Training and retaining skilled personnel can also be difficult due to the high demand for such talent. 

Best Practice for finding competent intelligence professionals 

Partner with external consultants or agencies specialising in competitive intelligence, implement robust training and development programs to enhance the skills of existing team members, and foster a supportive and engaging work environment that promotes professional growth and retention of talented individuals. 

Functioning within ethical and legal boundaries 

Pharma companies must navigate ethical and legal boundaries when gathering competitive intelligence. They need to ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations, such as data privacy and intellectual property rights.  

Striking a balance between gathering competitive insights and respecting legal and ethical boundaries can be complex, requiring careful navigation and adherence to best practices. 

Best Practice for intelligence compliance 

Establish clear policies and guidelines that outline the permissible methods of gathering information and ensure compliance with applicable laws and regulations.  

Additionally, raise awareness among employees about ethical best practices through regular training and education programs. Provide guidance on how to responsibly collect and utilise competitive intelligence. 

Dealing with information overload 

Pharma companies may struggle to sift through vast amounts of data, making it challenging to identify relevant and actionable insights.  

There is a risk of analysis paralysis, where decision-making is delayed or hindered due to the overwhelming volume of information. 

To overcome this issue, pharma companies need to implement efficient analytical frameworks and tools to effectively process and interpret the data. 

Adapting competitive analysis to constant changes 

The pharmaceutical industry is characterised by rapid changes, including scientific advancements, regulatory shifts, and competitive dynamics.  

Keeping up with these developments and continuously updating competitive intelligence is a significant challenge. Failure to adapt quickly can result in outdated insights and missed opportunities. 

To ensure adaptability of competitive intelligence to industry change. establish a robust monitoring system and invest in real-time market intelligence tools to ensure timely updates and adaptability. 

Change management in competitive intelligence 

Integrating competitive intelligence into the overall strategic decision-making process can be a challenge. It requires breaking down silos and fostering collaboration across various departments and functions within the organisation. Ensuring that competitive intelligence informs key business decisions and actions is crucial for maximising its impact and value. 

Change management best practice for managing competitive intelligence 

Promote a culture of cross-functional collaboration, establish clear communication channels, and designate a dedicated team or individual responsible for collecting, analysing, and disseminating competitive intelligence throughout the organisation. 

Data security and protection 

As competitive intelligence relies heavily on data collection and analysis, ensuring data security and protection is of utmost importance. Pharma companies need to implement robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard sensitive information.  

The risk of data breaches, intellectual property theft, and unauthorised access to competitive intelligence underscores the need for strong cybersecurity protocols. 

Best Practice security and protection measures 

Invest in robust cybersecurity infrastructure, including encryption technologies, access controls, and regular security audits. Implementing comprehensive data protection policies and training employees on cybersecurity best practices is essential for safeguarding competitive intelligence. 

Merit Data & Technology: A Trusted Web Scraping & Data Mining Partner, With a Deeply Ethical Approach  

At Merit Data & Technology, our team of data scientists have extensive, in-depth experience in working with data to facilitate web scraping in an efficient and effective manner, leaving you to focus on the core areas of your business and improve your team’s productivity and efficiency using the data and analytics we provide.  

Our data scientists understand your data needs and create customised tools to deliver the right data in the format you need. They scale up and scale down the data collection process based on your business needs, and validate data quality before it is used for analytics and decision-making.  

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