Stacey Jones
New York
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July 17, 2000

Pharmaceutical Companies Cite ER&D as Key to Future Success, Says Accenture Research

Yet Study Finds Barriers to Technology Adoption Still Exist

NEW YORK, July 17, 2000 - The world’s largest pharmaceutical companies are tying the future success of their research and development (R&D) initiatives to the Internet, yet they are falling short of leveraging the full power of the Web, according to a new survey conducted by Accenture.

One-half of the pharmaceutical R&D executives interviewed (54 percent) report that Internet-related technologies are fundamentally changing their R&D processes, and approximately the same number (58 percent) feel a high level of urgency for new Internet technology. These global industry leaders also agree that, in the next three years, their usage of these technologies will increase dramatically in a number of areas:

  • Almost three-quarters (74 percent) will use Netsource IT applications or application services providers (vs. 26 percent today)
  • Sixty percent believe they will capture and transmit clinical trial data electronically (vs. 14 percent today)
  • More than one-half (56 percent) envision recruiting clinical trial participants electronically (vs. 10 percent who currently do so)
  • Sixty-four percent anticipate filing new drug approval applications with government regulatory agencies (an increase from 30 percent today)

"These firms clearly see the future and have set their sights in the right direction," commented Dr. Pradip Banerjee, partner in Accenture’s pharmaceutical industry practice. "But they are missing the full scope of the Internet’s impact: by 2005, new technologies will enable the industry to double its output in half the time and at half the current cost."

Barriers to Maximizing Technology

While respondents agree on the opportunities that technology offers (80 percent believe it will result in shorter time-to-market and 68 percent believe it will lower the development costs of new drugs), the research uncovered a number of barriers to optimizing technology. For example:

  • A high percentage of interviewees (82 percent) report that concern about the security of proprietary information is a key barrier to adopting new technologies
  • More than half (58 percent) see regulatory concerns about patient confidentiality as important barriers to adopting eR&D
  • Forty-four percent agree that budget and/or staffing issues are a obstacle
"The major pharmaceutical companies must break down these barriers and adopt the tools and techniques that will enhance R&D," said Banerjee. "Unless this happens, technology will bring no added business value to R&D"

The eR&D Survey, conducted via personal interviews with R&D managers and IT professionals at pharmaceutical companies in five countries with $500 million to $1+ billion in sales, reports on current Internet usage that, according to Banerjee, "brushes only the tip of the iceberg."

"It is imperative for pharmaceutical companies to adopt and adapt Internet-based technologies quickly," he said. "The full power of Web technologies will expand a firm’s competitive advantage and radically transform the way the industry creates, collects and manages information. This will result in new and better scientific insights that will lead to revolutionary therapies. There has never been a better or more important time to adopt technology for R&D To do otherwise is to court stagnation."

Note to editors: Pradip Banerjee is the author of a white paper, "R&D and the Internet," which is available upon request.

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