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Looking forward to the future of pharma

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

Words by Davidek Herron

In his second regular column for GOLD, Roche’s Davidek Herron reflects on the successes and challenges of 2022 and looks ahead to what the new year might bring for omnichannel and value for patients

While resilience and commitment are the drivers of success, 2022 has tested pharma and other industries around the world. Several stressors have put businesses under unprecedented pressure, among them increasing inflation and supply chain disruptions.

Still, in this tumultuous year, we made great strides in personalised customer experience, which were particularly evident at the recent Reuters Pharma 2022 event. I was fortunate to attend and hear and share great examples of how pharma is moving the needle to improve healthcare outcomes for our patients in the areas of data, AI and omnichannel engagement.

At Roche, we are passionate about harnessing the power of omnichannel to provide our customers with truly personalised experiences. Omnichannel allows us to engage seamlessly with our customers in a way that is optimal for them. This will enable us to build stronger partnerships with our customers and allows them to provide better care for their patients.

Padraic Ward, Head of Roche Pharma Europe and International, spoke about how Roche has made bold moves to redefine customer engagement by moving away from the traditional ‘tell-and-sell’ approach to a partnership-focused model. He highlighted that “we have to do things differently. We have got to find new ways of engaging with our customers and providing value for them”.

To do this, we completely reinvented our model. Instead of more traditional customer facing roles, we assigned a primary point of contact (PPOC) – a dedicated person who listens to their needs and finds solutions inside and outside the Roche network. Our PPOCs allow us to shape our ecosystem and help customers focus on what matters most: delivering care to patients. And, since we know that driving customer value enables optimal customer engagement, we push hard to make our customer engagement as transformative as our science and as innovative as our business model. That’s why we intend to enter the new year with a concerted personalised omnichannel focus.

Commercial models will evolve at pace, requiring industry to harness the power of data and insights

Customers expect and need us to provide them with personalised, seamless communication experiences across all channels that matter to them, and yet some pharma companies still take a generic ‘spray-and-pray’ approach. At Roche, with data and technology powering an omnichannel machine, the resulting customer insight fuels these personalised experiences. We have programmes that analyse data, personalise content and map journeys for customers and patients to identify moments that matter. These programmes are key to enabling success in our new PPOC model.

Although there is still work to be done, we can be proud of the advances that Roche and the wider pharma industry have achieved to evolve our omnichannel capabilities. And while omnichannel excellence comes with its own complexities, we’re excited to dive into the unknown and drive conversation about innovation that will bring more value to healthcare systems.

The new year will likely bring an urgency for pharma companies to make the necessary shifts due to increasing customer demands and evolving business needs, as well as more ecosystem-shaping conversations. Commercial models will evolve at pace, requiring industry to harness the power of data and insights gathered by field teams to ensure we are driving value for our customers. The challenges we face won’t go away, but neither will our resilience and focus. We will never take our eye off the end goal of providing better health solutions – and more value – for patients.

Here’s to another year of innovation!

This column features in GOLD 25 – read the full issue here.

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