Updated on 29 October 2013
(L-R) Mr Rajesh Kuppuswamy is a senior director, Ms Ruchi Malhotra is a senior manager and Mr Arvind Dakhera is a manager for life sciences consulting at NASDAQ-listed IT and consulting firm Cognizant
As Chinese pharma moves forward to become the second largest market in the world by 2015, commercial operations for the geography take center stage in an attempt to capitalize on this opportunity. In this scenario, an analytical, data-driven approach is the cornerstone for the success of any commercial organization.
Changing face of commercial operations in China
Traditionally, Chinese healthcare has been associated with limited access, high out-of-pocket spending, margin-based selling, skewed distribution of healthcare infrastructure and a fragmented distribution network. This, in turn has led the commercial function to focus on the promotion of branded generics in an urban setting.
However, in recent times, the growing prevalence of lifestyle diseases and far-reaching impact of healthcare reforms including, improving healthcare access/coverage, consolidation of distribution networks and reducing drug prices, have come to characterize the emerging state of the Chinese healthcare system.
Accordingly, the pharma sector has been reinvigorating its China strategy in terms of rationalizing product portfolio, focusing on market access, enhancing provider coverage (to include county/rural hospital coverage through internal and external field force capacity addition/enablement), leveraging partnerships (for manufacturing, BD licensing, and inventory management) and pricing competitively to garner larger market share.
The need for a comprehensive commercial data strategy
Chinese pharma firms needs to rely on significant data inputs from epidemiology patterns and insights from trade and local healthcare system to make important commercial decisions on reach, products and promotions. They also need the data to re-align their strategies with the changing healthcare ecosystem in China.