3 Surprising Risks Facing Pharma

THE RESILIENT ENTERPRISE | THE RISKMETHODS BLOG
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There are a lot of potential problems that can throw a roadblock into the goals of the pharmaceutical industry, but some of the most crucial are going under the radar. Here are 3 surprising risks facing pharma—and none of them have to do with the opioid crisis.

by Cam Bjork

The mission of every pharmaceutical company is, ultimately, the same: To take better care of people. But getting in the way of that mission is, unfortunately, a lot of different things. Whether it’s fluctuating prices in raw materials, counterfeit drugs or the struggle associated with managing digital transformation, there’s no small list of issues that plague the pharmaceutical industry and make their mission harder to achieve.

But here’s the biggest problem: Because all eyes are on the more top-level concerns that I just mentioned, there are some big issues that are going under the radar—and they’re the ones that are really stopping pharma from doing their job.

#1: Unexpected unavailability of treatment sites for clinical trials.

Research and development (R&D) is often the lifeblood of pharmaceutical companies—without it, they lack the ability to innovate, to develop new products and, ultimately, to fulfill their mission of helping people. If something keeps the R&D process from working, it can keep the entire company from working. And what’s a big thing that keeps the R&D process from working?

Anything that ruins clinical trials.

A clinical trial requires deep precision and predictability, and an inability to deliver this can render it useless. So what if a power outage shuts down your clinical trial site, rendering you unable to give patients the treatment they’re supposed to get? What if a flood has made a major roadway to your treatment site impassable, making it impossible for patients to get there in the first place?

If a pharmaceutical company is serious about R&D, they better get serious about making sure their clinical trials go off without a hitch. And that requires active monitoring of their treatment sites to keep on top of any disruptive events that will affect them.

#2: Delayed delivery of supplies for clinical trials.

By the same token, pharmaceutical companies have to make sure that the drugs they need for their clinical trials are delivered on time. After all—what’s the value of an open treatment center if you don’t have the supplies you need to actually treat anyone?

There are countless factors that can delay a shipment of drugs: natural disasters like hurricanes and snowstorms; the bankruptcy of a key logistics provider; or the closure of an airport or seaport due to a strike, fire, explosion or geopolitical event. Knowing where your supplies are coming from and where they’re going to—and making sure that they’re going to be able to get there exactly when you need them to get there—is essential to making sure any clinical trial runs smoothly.

Download our free risk scorecard and find out how risky each of your suppliers is.

#3: Knowing when a potential problem is going to become an actual problem.

So you’re monitoring all your treatment sites to make sure that you aren’t surprised by an unexpected closure, and you’re monitoring the supply paths of your drugs to make sure that they’re always going to get to where they need to be. You have a lot of information—but how do you actually interpret that information to understand what’s most likely to cause a problem that you need to escalate?

When it comes to risk management, this is one of the hardest pieces of the puzzle. How risky is a risk? To best answer this question, you need to do more than just monitor—you need to be able to assess the events you’re monitoring to get an overall understanding of how at-risk you really are, so you can use this assessment to decide whether you need to take action.                 

With all the other issues facing the pharmaceutical industry, this is a lot to take on yourself. The good news is, technology can help. Want to know how? Drop me a line at cam.bjork@riskmethods.net, and I’ll walk you through how The riskmethods Solution can make your clinical trials more reliable—and make it much easier to achieve your ultimate mission: helping people live healthier lives.

Identify, assess, mitigate. Learn how supply chain risk is incorporated into each phase of the risk management lifecycle.

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