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So could the online auction formula be extended to the pharmaceutical industry? It might be a great way to make some big savings.
Online shopping has become something of a phenomenon during the past decade. Why bother trawling through shops when you can order just about anything online — you don't even have to leave the comfort of your own seat, let alone the house. A few clicks and it's completed. OK, so your purchase may take a couple of days longer to arrive compared with going to a shop, but the savings far outweigh the delay. And besides, it's always nicer and much more exciting to get parcels through the post.
I am happy to admit that I do most of my shopping online — a favourite is grocery shopping. Not that it gives me any pleasure; far from it. But, it's a lot easier than going to a supermarket full of screaming kids, unhelpful staff and coming out with 'beep beep beep' from the tills ringing in your ears. It takes less than 30 minutes to do a weekly shop online and they deliver right to my door. Perfect.
One of the best things to happen to online shopping has been web-based auction sites. There's something for everyone on these, and if you're quick enough you can grab an absolute bargain. But they have become more than just online auction houses; they are now proper market places, fully fledged institutions.
So could the online auction formula be extended to the pharmaceutical industry? For me, the customer should always come first and this would be a great way to make some big savings. Vendors needn't worry either — the auction process would help the best vendors make some good money. Something for everyone then!
Of course, the reality is that this would never happen. The market may witness cheap imitations and rip off merchants — though judging by some comments that I have heard recently, this is happening to a degree anyway. I guess the regulatory authorities wouldn't be too pleased either.
It's a shame really, because it would be quite exciting to watch pharmaceutical companies from across the globe battling it out to find the cheapest raw materials and process equipment. The serious point is that it would certainly bring our heavily fragmented industry much closer together — it would also be a lot more fun, and that never hurts anybody.