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What Will the Pharma World Look Like in 2050?

What Role Will You Play as the Next Generation of Pharma Professionals?

Laura Lambs
Business Development Associate, ProductLife Group


e live in a time of rapid change when services and products sometimes become obsolete overnight. It is a rather tricky thing to predict what the pharma world will look like in 2050. What new career opportunities will there be, and what roles and responsibilities will be in store for us? Many questions currently remain without concrete answers.

The pharmaceutical industry is relatively mature, and major players are currently well known. But if we reflect on the past, it was apothecaries that used to prepare and sell drugs. With the “industrialization age” came professionals producing significantly higher quantity of products which we now commonly refer to Pharma. And what will the future bring? Will we even use “drugs”?

In the next 30 years, we will likely see a shift in business models and a focus on new playing fields, which will ultimately lead to different company archetypes. Companies ought to choose their strategy now in order to maintain great value. I believe that pharma will continue moving from drugs to products that are healthcare solutions, further integrating other disciplines and technological products such as information technologies and medical devices. Indeed, already today we are using 3D printers to create orthopedic prostheses and drug delivery systems. In 2050, almost 80 percent of medical acts will be automatized, and pharma players will have different roles. As I imagine the 2050 scenario, I see us using our own genome sequence to set up an informatics model with an ability to recreate our body or parts of it. Bioethics and regulations will have to change quickly to follow the trend. We will also see a shift from treatment to prevention. In terms of innovation, we can imagine using artificial intelligence to prevent diseases, assisting you with what you should and should not do in order to have a healthier life. We will no longer see drugs prescriptions on paper; instead, you will have products delivered to your home after the doctor ordered them online. If you need medical advice, your pharmacist will assist you thanks to an application on your smartphone. Those are crazy ideas? Yes, this is breakthrough technology.

As leaders of tomorrow, we will continue to grow with the rise of new tools like automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence. We have to think of new solutions to create something entirely new to improve existing processes. Among the valuable assets of pharma professionals are a good understanding of science as well as of informatics, technology (including biotechnology), and big data processing. Our role is to drive pharma companies to adapt to a world that is becoming more transverse, open, interconnected, and transparent, where there is a mix between various generations and cultures.

Leaders of tomorrow in 2018 will not be the leaders of 2050; by that time, we are almost retired. I believe that younger generations growing up in this interdisciplinary world between 2040 and 2050 will find it easier to establish common ground with other disciplines and the general public. All future leaders will have various competencies, and they will often assist with mergers and acquisitions between high tech companies and pharmaceutical groups. Will “Pharma” still be “Pharma?”

As pharmacist in 2018, I think my role during this transition is to keep the stern that healthcare professionals are still behind the drive in innovations in healthcare and that new technologies are science based and are catering to the patient’s needs. I need to be creative to prepare the future. If we understand that the key to success is not only the technology but also your team’s knowledge, perspicacity, and adaptability to find efficient solutions to disruptions then this is a good start to imagine how a company should be run. Before being able to attract and work with the best talents the world over, we first and foremost have to rethink the company organization and standards to match the expectations of new generations.