R&D: Drug Execs Say Internet Will Be Essential to Process
According to 50 research and development executives at pharmaceutical companies worth at least $500 million, the Internet is key to the future success of their R&D efforts, but "significant barriers to leveraging the Web's full power" stand in the way, the Washington Post reports. The executives were interviewed for an Andersen Consulting report, "R&D and the Internet: Opportunities to Profit from Web-Enabled Pharmaceutical Research & Development." The report reveals that 54% of the executives believe that "new technologies are fundamentally changing the research process." Further, 86% believe that Internet technologies will have a "great impact in the near future." The executives predicted that in the next three years, Internet technology will be used to bring products to market more quickly; lower development costs for new drugs; recruit clinical trial participants; transmit clinical trial data; and file drug approval applications with the FDA or other government agencies. Report author Pradip Banerjee, a partner in the consulting firm's pharmaceutical industry practice, said, "The Internet is transforming the way pharmaceutical companies deal with each other and with their customers. Companies will have to move quickly and decisively if they are to stay ahead of the sweeping technology-driven changes that are buffeting the industry." Still, most of the executives interviewed expressed concern about implementing Internet technology into their research processes. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed said that security was the main barrier to implementing Internet technology, while 58% cited regulatory concerns about patient confidentiality and 44% worried about budget and staffing issues. In addition, 44% of the executives indicated that Internet technology "sometimes create[s] more problems than [it] solves." Banerjee added, "The major pharmaceutical companies must break down these barriers and adopt the tools and techniques that will enhance R&D. Unless this happens, technology will bring no added business value to R&D" (Chea, 7/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.