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Yikes! A report recently came across my desk that served for me, as it should for every pharmaceutical marketing researcher, as a clear indicator that our business is going to be changing rather significantly in the next few years—and that we better get ready for those changes now.

The report, from PricewaterhouseCoopers, predicted that the global pharmaceutical market would double by 2020, but that much of this business will come from the “E7” countries (Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Russia and Turkey), up by 60% since 2004. Moreover, while the patient conditions being treated in these countries will largely parallel those in countries we have historically focused on, i.e., the US and the G5 countries, the report predicted that the business models that have made the industry prosper in these countries will simply not work in emerging markets. In particular, the report noted that marketing efforts would require streamlining in these emerging countries, since we will not be able to charge the premium drug prices that have historically been able to fund them.

Regular readers of this column and my other writings and rantings will know what I am going to say next. As pharma marketing researchers, we'd better start to get ready for these new opportunities. At the very least, we had best develop a robust body of knowledge of the healthcare delivery systems and pharma marketing practices in these countries, and begin to scenario plan and test ways that our business models can be adopted, or perhaps entirely new ones developed, to permit us to capitalize on these new opportunities. It is astoundingly important that we have the chance to double the size of our global market in the next few years, and we must be totally ready to take full advantage of this potential growth.

Richard Vanderveer is group CEO, GfK US Healthcare Companies


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