Pharmaceutical and life sciences CEOs have reasons to be optimistic about a future which will see continuing growth through innovation, partnerships and the application of emerging technology, but they also recognise that reaching their full ambitions won’t be easy. Complex challenges stand in the way. These are some of the findings we see in PwC’s 21st Global CEO Survey, in which 70 pharmaceutical and life sciences CEOs from 31 countries participated.
The PwC Global CEO Survey found leaders were increasingly optimistic about macro-economic growth, and among the sample of pharmaceutical and life sciences CEOs, 51% believe global growth will continue to improve (see exhibit 1). They are more bearish, however, about their own company’s future, especially compared to previous years: 46% are very confident about their company’s prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months – a drop from last year’s survey, when 63% reported being ‘very confident’.
Two thirds of the pharmaceutical and life sciences CEOs surveyed are concerned about market disruption coming from direct and indirect competitors, both traditional and new.
Another issue weighing on pharmaceutical and life sciences CEOs is greater pressure to deliver business results in less time, which 71% of CEOs surveyed said their organisations face. More than ever before, the sector is dealing with healthcare buyers who expect greater value for money.
With rising drug costs, these buyers are demanding that drug companies demonstrate the efficacy of their treatments. To remain competitive, big pharma will have to do things faster (like drug development) and cheaper for the patient, add more value for the same money, and become more proactive partners with patients and doctors in both wellness and cure.
Pharmaceutical and life sciences CEOs see they need to step up digitally and push into the 21st century. Brands that are able to harness real-time evidence to show the benefits of their products, drive outcome-based results, and connect with patients will win. To do so, companies will have to attract the right skills. Yet, 60% of the sector’s CEOs are concerned about the availability of digital talent in their workforce. Further, 57% said they were already finding it somewhat or very difficult to attract digital talent, higher than the global sample (50%).