Perspective: Drug Costs and Pharma’s Future

Published on: 
Pharmaceutical Technology, Pharmaceutical Technology-07-02-2017, Volume 41, Issue 7
Pages: 32

Drug costs, biosimilars, and cloud-based technologies will shape the pharmaceutical industry in the years to come.

Binodh Desilva, PhD, president of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS), discusses how drug costs, biosimilars, and cloud-based technologies will shape the pharmaceutical industry in the years to come.

The evolution of pharma

PharmTech: How has the pharmaceutical industry evolved since the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) was founded in 1986? What advances have been made? How have regulations and standards changed?

Desilva (AAPS): The pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry has seen the following advances that have expedited the drug development process:

  • Availability of big data in the form of rich databases

  • Availability of the mobile technology, which enables worldwide access 

  • Technological advances (e.g., robotics, highly sensitive instrumentation, CRISPR technology, decreased cost of genome sequencing)

  • 3D printing of organs and drugs

  • Savvy consumer/patient advocacy groups engaging with industry and regulators

  • Patient-focused healthcare

  • Global travel and the rapid spread of diseases across continents necessitates that first-world countries pay close attention to third-world issues.

PharmTech: What do you foresee for the next 10 years in pharma innovations, regulations, and/or markets?

Desilva (AAPS): The biosimilar market and availability of low-cost biologic therapeutics will occupy both the regulators and industry to think innovative ways to conduct research and drug development. The use of biomarkers as diagnostics, as well as prognosis, will enable industry academic collaborations in translational research. [The] supply chain will be affected by the power of the cloud-based technologies. [And there will be] more regulations on the cost of drugs. Political and social influence on this will be more revolutionary than before. Payers will become more sophisticated by using trends and big data to their advantage.  

The evolution of AAPS

PharmTech: How has your organization changed over the past 30 years?

Desilva (AAPS): We have changed to adapt to the trends in the industry. We provide cutting-edge, applied educational opportunities for the pharmaceutical science community [and] a forum to connect with scientists from many disciplines and discuss and debate regulations with pharma and regulators from all over the world. We provide expert opinions on regulatory guidance and scientific topics. [And] we develop award-winning journals that focus on the science and news that affect our members.

PharmTech: How has your organization influenced the pharma industry?

Desilva (AAPS): By providing a forum for scientific and technical education and professional development; networking opportunities with academics, regulators, and pharma scientists from around the world; expert opinions on regulatory guidance; and student activities that enable pharma industry to populate their pipeline of the next generation of scientists.

PharmTech: How is your organization planning to grow and affect the industry in the next 10 years?

Desilva (AAPS): It is AAPS’ mission to advance the capacity of pharmaceutical scientists to develop products and therapies that improve product health. To that end, the organization is focusing on four organizational pillars as part of our strategic vision:

  • Advancing scientific discovery, exchange, and learning

  • Working to increase awareness and understanding of the role and positive societal impact of pharmaceutical scientists

  • Expanding professional development offerings to meet members’ needs throughout their careers

  • Fostering AAPS’ global community.

In this way, AAPS will steadily move toward our vision of advancing the pharmaceutical sciences to drive prevention and cures. 

Article Details

Pharmaceutical Technology
Vol. 41, No. 7
Page: 32


When referring to this article, please cite it as PharmTech, “Perspective: Drug Costs and Pharma’s Future,” Pharmaceutical Technology 41 (7) 2017.