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The Next Frontier of Innovation in the Pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry is passing through hopeful and turbulent times at the same time today. On one hand, the industry is facing rising opposition from customers who wish to pay as a single payer. On the other hand, great innovations are helping pharmaceutical industry meet new customers to grow revenues. An example of the later development is the digital mobile technology which helps the industry collect large amount of data to form an unparalleled understanding of healthcare. Additionally, today the pharmaceutical industry is in a position to make a statement to the larger public to seal its place as the ideal provider of healthcare in the long run. The Pharmaceutical industry can find a harmonious balance between the turbulence and opportunities to claim the throne of a great healthcare provider with real innovation today.
Currently, the healthcare industry focuses on R&D which can immediately be turned into products to earn revenues.  An example of this economic development is the large number of medical solutions available which treat common illnesses such as cold, fever, headache, etc. and are usually available as over the counter medicine for patients. This economic activity is governed by patients who pay as individuals. This economic model is in line with natural principles that advocate that self-interest is the motivator of economic activity and competition is the regulator.  However, there is a new economic expectation of patients which could better shape the future. If patients paid as a single payer, the government could invest in more R&D tax dollars into the future in the form of grants or subsidies. Without the infusion of such investments, real innovation would be difficult as real innovation requires companies to operate in the area of absolute uncertainty, which can be a nightmare from the point of view of shareholders.
Untapped Innovative Opportunities
In the pharmaceutical sector, the natural economic forces have not yet found solution to deadly diseases like HIV, multiple forms of cancers, and several others. The primary reason for true lifesaving innovation being expensive is that true innovation operates in the territory of absolute uncertainty and hence one cannot set a timeline in principle in order to achieve desired results. Furthermore, this is also the primary reason why deadly diseases which promise lucrative revenues may never see real investment by individuals who are governed by self-interest. Individual self-interest leaves breathing space for Individual desire for happiness and is likely to be susceptible to individual weaknesses. On the other hand, if companies received funding for innovation through a legitimate public entity like the government, it could invest in innovation for the long term growth of a society. Such collaboration would help the pharmaceutical industry to find solutions that separate life and death in a meaningful manner in the society.  On the other hand, the individual companies which find a solution to grave illnesses can also monetize these innovations.  Some such trending innovations are mentioned below.
Precise Medicine
Today the Pharmaceutical industry faces stiff legal penalties for overdosing a patient with a particular medicine. The good news is soon doctors would gain access to genomes which helps map out the individual medical history. This makes it possible to deliver a perfect and precise dose of medicine to a patient. Genome projects are gathering momentum, largely due to an initiative of the Obama administration, which gave the grant of $215 million to Precision Medicine Initiative.  Grants like these and projects like these would make it possible to develop personalized medical solutions which are near perfect for all patients.
Data Gathering
It is important for doctors and medical researchers to have access to real intelligent data in order to make objective observations and produce insightful innovation. Such data gathering and generation has become much easier thanks to mobile apps. Today, several mobile phones include technologies that can track movement, sense various health indicators and measure the health of patients and provide the data to doctors and researchers to better understand their patients. Such data apps are making it possible to create gene sequencing and live health monitoring, which could have only been dreamt about in the past.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI has become the guiding light for many industries. The Pharmaceutical industry is not an exception to this rule. Supercomputers and machine learning are making it possible for researchers to detect patterns in genes, diseases and respond to them with appropriate solutions at a blazing quick speed. Many such AI projects are currently helping the Pharmaceutical industry on the path of innovation. One prime example of this technology in action is the IBM Watson which has demonstrated learning capabilities and absorbs millions of pages of medical literature to make the industry reach the pinnacle of competitive success.
There are many more innovations which are reshaping the future of the Pharmaceutical industry. Some of these include 3D Printing, Nanotechnology, Virtual meetings between doctors and patients, etc. Innovation is opening up new doors of opportunities for every industry and companies which follow the path of innovation will find a golden arch to build a great future for them. However, it is important for the industry to secure its long term interest by positioning itself as the ideal provider of healthcare services in the short run.