In-person events are back with a bang in 2022. PHUSE US Connect in Atlanta and the PSI Conference in Gothenburg earlier this year were the first events we had physically attended since 2019, and while virtual have kept us busy, it was exciting to see the return of face-to-face conversations, gala dinners, booth demos, and giveaways.

So, what’s changed? What challenges is the pharmaceutical industry facing? And what have been the big talking points so far this year?

R and Open Source 

First on the calendar this year was PHUSE US Connect in Atlanta. Big talking points were R adoption and Open Source and their use within the industry. Matt Jones, our CEO and Co-founder believes several companies are currently going on this journey.

"We are heading to a multilingual world of the right tool for the right job, and whilst the broader adoption of R and other languages in clinical research is exciting, it is not going to come for free. There will need to be a significant investment in time, money and energy by sponsor companies and CROs to leverage the potential that is available.”

Matt Jones, CEO and Co-founder of Veramed

Arguably, Open Source is a cultural phenomenon that is a common feature of certain programming communities, including R. It involves contribution by the community to the community through the sharing of code, applications and working practices across the industry.  The belief is that by sharing effort and knowledge, it raises the game of all people and companies that are part of the community.

"Open Source is free to use, but not free like a free beer. A deep commitment to contribution, collaboration and in some cases coordination across the industry will be required to make the journey successful and overcome hurdles such as compatibility, validation and trust."

Matt Jones, CEO and Co-founder of Veramed

Embracing ESG

More companies are embracing Environmental, Social, and corporate Governance (ESG) than ever before. Big players within the pharmaceutical industry are starting to reflect on their relationship with workers, customers and the community – especially when it comes to big topics like environmentalism and carbon offsetting.

"There are some excellent ESG campaigns conducted by big pharma, but I believe there is much more to be done to gain the trust of workers, customers, and the community"

Stuart McGuire, Chief Business Officer & Environmental Ambassador, Veramed

Event organisers are getting involved as well. At the PSI Conference this year, Veramed sponsored the event’s recycled lanyards and provided “drop-off” bins at the event for their use at future events. This type of sponsorship is on the rise. However many companies lack direction when it comes to taking meaningful action. Global movements such as B Lab’s B Corp certification can help. Our very own Stuart McGuire, Chief of Business, did a presentation on the benefits of B Corp accreditation within the industry at the PSI conference this year – view here. Ethical, transparent, and accountable business practices are on the rise in the pharmaceutical industry, and those who don’t keep up will miss out on a huge opportunity to build trusted, long term relationships with employees, partners and patients alike.

Estimands and RWE/Wearables

Estimands and their implementation have been a big topic over the last years and its buzz was still evident at PSI Conference 2022. The challenges companies across the industry are facing when it comes to adopting and implementing estimands is evident but this challenge is not so much methodological as it is a challenge of change management, and thus a leadership challenge.

"Leadership is always a talking point at industry events, but its importance increases as classical statistics organisations are challenged by new data science organisations."

Alexander Schacht, EVP of Launch & Commercialisation, Data Sciences, Veramed

Combining RWE and clinical trial data was also a big focus at PSI this year. There are some initial case studies and there is a lot of excitement around this topic, and regulators and HTA bodies offer guidance. However, there are also many challenges to overcome and Statisticians will need to play a key role in addressing them.

An emerging trend is data from wearables and other such patient-centred data, which offer large opportunities to explore areas previously inaccessible. The design of studies around such data and the analyses of these large data sets come with new opportunities for Statisticians to leverage for clinical development and beyond.

“Clinical trials and working with regulators like the FDA and EMA will still be important, yet failing to take into account other evidence sources and non-regulatory stakeholders will lead to failure.”

Alexander Schacht, EVP of Launch & Commercialisation, Data Sciences, Veramed

Get in touch to learn more about we’re addressing today’s industry challenges and trends with our innovative, quality driven service offerings. We’re also excited to be attending PHUSE EU later this year – stay tuned for further updates on booth, demos, prizes and more. 

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