A Transformative Opportunity Awaits the MENA Pharma Industry: Are You Ready?

MENA Pharma

Last week a very impressive group of Pharma industry leaders gathered in Jordan to talk about “Digital Transformation” and the state of manufacturing and quality systems. At this remarkable event, sponsored by Scigeniq, a very clear thesis emerged. 

In essence, the shared belief among the speakers and participants is that Pharma companies in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow and advance their businesses with the right investments in technology. Also, considering its importance in the Global pharmaceutical market, Brazil is expected to play a prominent role in this regard.

The evidence that was offered by the speakers and participants at the Jordan event is rooted in the logical connections between Industry 4.0, Pharma 4.0 and the IQVIA Quality Maturity model for Pharma companies. 

Industry 4.0 

Industry 4.0 is a label for the current phase of the industrial revolution. Industry 1.0, in the late 1800s and into the 1900s, was centered on the mechanization of industry.  Industry 2.0 focused on electrification, and 3.0 on automation.  

Now we are in the early stages of Industry 4.0, a period that goes beyond the automation of tasks to completely interconnected manufacturing and distribution systems. In the Industry 4.0 model, new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) combine with completely digitized, instrumented processes. 

Pharma 4.0 

Pharma has its own version of Industry 4.0, dubbed Pharma 4.0. According to a presenter at the conference, Pharma 4.0 heralds a new era for pharmaceutical companies, characterized by increased efficiencies through process visibility, faster decision-making, and real-time system optimization. 

Exploiting 4.0 concepts, whether in Pharma or elsewhere, requires wholesale changes in the way systems are envisioned. While automation is basically the computerization of processes that were previously manual, in a 4.0 model completely new processes, previously impossible, are built. One term that tries to capture the magnitude of change in thinking required in a 4.0 world is “Digital Transformation.”  

Bringing Digital Transformation to MENA & Brazil Pharma 

The real insight into the opportunity for MENA Pharma companies comes by connecting Pharma 4.0 concepts with IQVIA’s quality maturity model. That model identifies 5 levels of maturity for quality management. At the lower levels of the model, the “Developing” and “Controlled” levels, processes are siloed and reactive and organizations are mainly compliance-driven. 

As organizations move upward to levels 3 and 4 of the maturity model (“Integrated” and “Harmonized”), their orientation moves to prevention, with proactive process and key metrics. The highest level of the model, level 5, is labeled “Leader” with a focus on integrated, end-to-end, instrumented, collaborative processes. 

Notice the overlap between the language of Pharma 4.0 and the highest levels of the maturity model? Both emphasize interconnected, intelligent and metered systems.  

Traditionally, organizations move up the maturity model step by step, typically over a protracted period of time. Advancing in that manner is natural, and we see it in MENA Pharma companies today, which are typically focused on investing in systems and automation to deal with compliance and often reactive in nature.   

Today’s Transformative Opportunity for MENA & Brazil

But here’s the opportunity that was called out at the event in Jordan. Because technologies have moved so fast, MENA Pharma companies have the chance to actually skip some steps on the maturity model and jump to the highest levels.   

That’s because technology investments in quality systems can be redirected from solutions that deliver automation and compliance to systems that are proactive, integrated and embed best practices. Investments like these will result in a transformative impact, not an incremental advancement. 

Every speaker, every panelist and seemingly every attendee at the event seemed to share the same sense of excitement at the remarkable opportunity for Pharma companies in MENA (and Brazil) today:  

The opportunity to rapidly advance up the quality maturity curve and demonstrate how investments in the right technologies can make Pharma 4.0 a reality and Scigeniq is here to discuss the opportunities for companies in both MENA and Brazil.

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