Nearly half of the pharmaceutical companies (48 per cent) admit their competitiveness is suffering because they cannot extract or use insights from data they already have within their business.

An equal percentage of the companies admit to not using their own data for business decisions as well.

The findings are from research among 300 senior decision-makers within the pharmaceutical industry in the UK, US, Germany, France, Spain and Sweden, conducted by Aspen Technology, a global leader in asset optimisation software.

The research also reveals how poor digital capabilities hit business performance. Almost half (49 per cent) say their companies struggle to use data effectively to improve time to market.

“This should sound an alarm bell within the pharmaceutical industry,” said David Leitham, senior vice president at AspenTech. “Leading organisations stand out for their ability to use data effectively across all aspects of drug manufacture. Data-driven organisations are faster to innovate and respond to opportunities or threats at speed.”

The research also found a widespread lack of predictive capabilities within the industry.

Almost half (49 per cent) of respondents say their companies are not good enough at predicting demand for a product and adjusting output to match it. And almost as many (48 per cent) rate their organisation as either poor or ineffective at using data to predict and resolve supply shortages.

Companies that have a more advanced digital culture use data effectively across all aspects of drug manufacture. More than three-quarters (78 per cent) of such “digital culture leaders” in the research describe themselves as effective at using data to predict product demand and to forecast and resolve supply shortages.

“Pharma manufacturers have traditionally been moving slowly and incrementally towards ‘Pharma 4.0’,” said Leitham. “For more than half of all organisations this needs to accelerate if they are to avoid falling further behind.”

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