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Business process automation in the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical sector is an extremely important and rapidly developing element of the economy. Similarly to other industries, automation plays an increasingly significant role in it. Learn more about the benefits and challenges that arise from this!

The importance of the pharmaceutical industry in today's world

The pharmaceutical industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of industry and a key factor in the economies of developed countries.

According to the Eubioco report, the value of pharmaceutical distribution of drugs and parapharmaceuticals in Poland amounted to 56 billion złoty in gross prices in 2021. This was an increase of 8% year-on-year. Furthermore, our domestic pharmaceutical market generates a part of the gross domestic product worth 7.3 billion euros (approx. 32 billion zloty), which constitutes 1.33% of GDP.

What does automation provide in the pharmaceutical industry?

Due to increasing competition and the need for development, more and more companies in the pharmaceutical sector are beginning to automate many business processes.

The possibilities of automation include:

  • improving the efficiency, quality, and reliability of production processes;
  • adapting to rigorous legal requirements;
  • integration and data exchange between various IT systems – both internal and external;
  • development of new products and services – supporting clinical research and the development of drug formulas.
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Research and Development

Automation accelerates the analysis of large datasets of clinical, demographic, laboratory, and genetic data. Advanced statistical methods, machine learning, and neural networks are used to detect significant patterns. This significantly speeds up the process of researching new drugs.

In the field of experiments, automation facilitates the performance of various tasks, eliminating human errors and the influence of environmental factors. Thanks to advanced statistical and mathematical techniques, it aids in the planning of experiments. Not only does this significantly streamline the entire process of conducting them, but it also reduces costs.

Automated tools are based on the analysis of demographic, epidemiological data, drug availability, stocks, and innovations. Therefore, information technology and artificial intelligence are used for effective management of the pharmaceutical market.

Among other initiatives, we implemented this type of action for Teva Pharmaceuticals, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies, for which we created a system for simulating profits from the sale of generic drugs, a tool to support the process of pricing generic drugs in response to customer inquiries, and an application for analyzing financial data, trends, and the impact of individual customers on profits.

Impact of automation on sales and marketing automation also streamlines sales and marketing:

  1. Market research and pricing use tools like Google Trends, SEMrush or Price2Spy. This helps better understand customer and competitor needs. A similar approach was taken by Teva Pharmaceuticals, for whom we created an advanced system supporting the entire drug pricing process.
  2. Canva, Prezi and Slidebean allow for the quick creation of sales presentations and professional advertising materials. This process can be further automated. A created system can collect data from other systems operating in the company without human intervention, and then automatically create ready-made sales presentations using prepared templates.
  3. Taxamo, Sovos and Avalara significantly streamline the preparation of reports for official institutions – avoiding errors and penalties for non-compliance with regulations.
  4. Slack, Trello or Guru are suitable for collecting and distributing knowledge to doctors and pharmacists within an internal ecosystem. Some companies, like AbbVie, choose to streamline this process by implementing dedicated knowledge management solutions, perfectly tailored to existing processes. The internal system we built, Biopso, is a compendium of knowledge for health care professionals who can access information on the treatment of skin diseases in one place.
  5. Marketing and communication automation through tools like Google Ads, Facebook Ads or LinkedIn Ads helps reach the target customer group and improve sales results. Moreover, dedicated systems can significantly streamline the work of the marketing and sales departments, automating many repetitive tasks prone to human error. They often also serve as an additional tool, increasing the efficiency of these departments. A good example here is the Magic SMS system we developed from scratch, used by companies like Adamed and Polfa Tarchomin, providing automation and extension of communication using SMS messages with the ability to send high-quality videos, attach various types of materials, and conduct surveys.

Automation can be implemented in various ways, both using available subscription tools, enterprise solutions, or creating dedicated solutions tailored to the processes of a particular company. All solutions have their pros and cons, but it is important to remember that using SaaS (software as a service) solutions can create problems in terms of data leakage outside the company, high fixed costs, or lack of adaptation to specific needs. A solution to these problems may be dedicated software operating in the internal infrastructure.

Do you have an idea for a project in the healthcare industry? Let us help you realize it.

Automated pharmaceutical production

Automation increases the efficiency and precision of production processes. As a result, companies can quickly adapt to changing conditions and use their resources wisely.

Advanced models and analytical technologies allow optimizing production conditions, and as a result, discovering new substances and drug forms. Automated monitoring and control systems ensure compliance with regulations. Tools perform detailed measurements of physical, chemical, and biological properties to guarantee the safety of each manufactured drug.

Supply chain management

Supply chain management automation in the management of the drug supply chain brings many benefits:

  1. Monitoring and delivering drugs where they are needed, using tracking and identification systems such as barcodes, RFID, or blockchain. This ensures full transparency and control over the flow of drugs.
  2. Managing drug expiry dates using systems that take into account expiration dates, batches, and drug locations. This limits losses and ensures patient safety.
  3. Reducing the circulation of counterfeit drugs through the use of drug verification and authorization systems, such as barcodes, watermarks, holograms, and nanoparticles, which allow for the identification of original drugs and the elimination of counterfeits.

One way to limit the circulation of counterfeit drugs could be the use of blockchain technology. You can read about this in this article.

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Drug safety monitoring

Automated processes facilitate the monitoring of drug side effects and shorten the response time to adverse events. How does this work?

Adverse drug reaction reporting and analysis systems use business process robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. This enables them to speed up the reporting, processing, and evaluation of information about adverse drug effects.

Automation in pharmacy provides:

  • performing many tasks simultaneously with high accuracy;
  • quick adaptation to changing market conditions;
  • utilization of advanced analytical technologies, modeling, and machine learning for the development of new products;
  • collecting, processing, and analyzing data from various sources.

Automation in the pharmaceutical industry reduces human errors and increases patient safety, while minimizing the risk of dosing and drug labeling errors. Ultimately, this contributes to reducing operational costs and shortening the development cycle of new drugs.

Benefits of automation in pharmacy

According to a research report by MarketsandMarkets in 2022, the pharmacy automation market was valued at 5.6 billion dollars and is expected to reach 8.2 billion by 2027, indicating a growth of 7.9%.

Primarily, this will improve operational efficiency and the speed of research, testing, packaging, and labeling of drugs. It will also reduce the risk of contamination, improving the quality of the final product.

Importantly, automation reduces human errors, which can have a potentially negative impact on patient safety and the manufacturer's reputation.

Example: Automated Drug Dispensing Systems (ADS) can reduce medication administration errors by 50% compared to manual methods.

Automation also leads to the accelerated introduction of new drugs to the market and the reduction of operational costs – including those related to employment, training, and supervision.

Challenges and risks of automation in pharmacy

Despite its many benefits, automation in pharmacy also comes with certain challenges and risks.

  1. Data security: Automation requires the collection, processing, and storage of large amounts of information, both related to drugs and patients. This data is usually sensitive and confidential, and its breach can have serious consequences. To avoid this, appropriate security measures should be applied, such as encryption, authentication, backup, and data monitoring.
  2. Staff transition: As a company entrusts more duties to automated tools, the role and skills of the staff change. Automation may replace some tasks performed by humans, so it requires providing appropriate training and support to employees to adapt them to technological changes.

Examples of successful adaptation in pharmacy

There are already several notable examples of successful adaptations in this area:

  1. Pfizer: utilizes automation at all stages of the drug lifecycle, including research, production, and monitoring. Through automation, the company conducted a massive analysis of clinical data on the COVID-19 vaccine, accelerating the assessment of its efficacy and safety.
  2. Novartis: applies automation to speed up research and development processes, including the discovery of new active substances. The company is also creating an internal knowledge base to facilitate communication and collaboration.
  3. Roche: uses modern tools to monitor the conditions of storage and transport of drugs. Moreover, it is building a tracking system based on blockchain technology to prevent counterfeiting.
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Future perspectives

The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning will allow for the invention of more effective and safer drugs. In the longer term, this will contribute to the development of healthcare and the creation of entirely new patient treatment possibilities.

Blockchain and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies will ensure full transparency of the drug supply chain, increasing patient safety and reducing the risk of counterfeits.

3D printing and bioprinting will enable the creation of personalized medications, improving therapy efficacy and tailoring treatment to individual patient needs.

Automation is the future of pharmacy

Business process automation in pharmacy brings numerous benefits to individual pharmaceutical companies and the industry as a whole. This process increases efficiency and innovation while eliminating errors and reducing costs. However, it also comes with challenges, such as adapting to dynamic market conditions and continuously changing regulations.

Nevertheless, technology has enormous potential to accelerate the development of the pharmaceutical sector and improve the quality of life for patients worldwide. Automation is the future of pharmacy, which can be better, faster, and safer. At WebMakers, we understand this perfectly, which is why we support pharmaceutical and medical companies in increasing their operational efficiency with dedicated IT systems Book a consultation and see what we can do for you.

Business Process Automationautomationblockchainpharmeceutical sectorbusiness processespharmaceutical sectorpharmacy automationsupply chain
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