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Geopolitical conflicts, inflation & drug pricing pressures top challenges for pharma in 2024: Report


New Delhi, Dec 22
Lingering inflation, geopolitical tensions and conflicts, as well as continuous pressures to cut drug prices, will be the top challenges for the pharmaceutical industry in 2024, according to a report on Friday.

The report by GlobalData, a data and analytics company, based on a survey of 115 healthcare industry professionals, showed that drug pricing and reimbursement constraints elicited the strongest responses from survey respondents.

The majority of these respondents viewed the trend as having a negative impact in 2024.

This was closely followed by geopolitical conflicts and inflation -- both eliciting more negative sentiment as well.

“Even though inflationary pressures are retreating, the other shocks may come, especially with global tensions mounting. Geopolitical tensions and conflicts bring uncertainty to the economic outlook as deteriorating relationships are often accompanied by numerous repercussions ranging from reduced cooperation, IPO market disruptions, to economic sanctions,” said Urte Jakimaviciute, Senior Director of Market Research at GlobalData, in a statement.

Drug pricing will continue to remain a major challenge for the pharmaceutical industry. It was scored as the number one impediment to industry growth when healthcare professionals were asked to rate the most negative emerging regulatory and macroeconomic trends for the 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 industry outlook.

It was only pushed down to the second position last year, when inflation took over the leading place as the most negative industry trend for 2023.

“While pricing control can lead to a more affordable healthcare for the public, it limits revenue growth for the pharmaceutical sector. Price controls -- which apply to medicines in most major markets -- mean that drug prices are not typically allowed to rise at the same rate as general inflation," Jakimaviciute said.

"Nevertheless, this may limit the revenue growth for pharma, with production costs on the rise: for example, due to suppliers rising the costs and employees expecting pay rises, drug production costs may increase well above inflation rates.

“While inflation peaked in 2022 in most of the markets, and inflationary pressures are slowly receding, it is above the 2 per cent target consumers and business are still feeling the pressure of increased prices. Sharp monetary policy tightening seen in most of the markets can also lead to recession or hamper global growth,” Jakimaviciute said.