The Future of the Pharmaceutical Industry in an Evolving COVID-19 World


COVID-19 has put a spotlight on all aspects of the pharmaceutical industry, from R&D to commercialization to treatment and vaccine access. The industry stepped up to the pandemic challenge, aided by creativity and collaboration of many stakeholders in the ecosystem, towards solutions that can save lives. Established and emerging organizations pivoted time, resources, and many aspects of their go-to-market model. As the Delta variant rages, Pharma is faced with a potentially greater challenge: determining how much change to lean into for the long term.

Looking around the corner to endemic phase and beyond, the global healthcare landscape is in a time of significant evolution. Initially accelerated in many respects by COVID, moving forward we will see an ecosystem that is part technology and innovation-led, part institutional system-led, and part consumer-led. Some indicators of that future:

  • Global funding of healthcare AI reached $6.7 billion, its highest levels, and regulatory agencies are increasingly working through frameworks to keep pace
  • Scientific innovation bringing us closer to a personalized treatment journey with advanced diagnostics and precision medicine. Global governments are tackling data interoperability and reshaping funding towards prevention, with an estimated 193% per person increase on preventative spending by 2030
  • Site of care is shifting towards home and community care, with wearables and monitors changing the health interaction from point in time to asynchronous and predictive
  • The very nature of “medicine” is changing (CGT, platforms, digital therapeutics, and more), challenging a new level of scale and global balance. The role pharma can play as a connected stakeholder in this evolving ecosystem is open to discussion

I am proud to share that at this important moment for the pharmaceutical industry, I am taking on the global leadership role of ZS’s pharmaceutical and biotech practice. I pivoted to a career in healthcare in 2001 because I found my personal purpose in the journey to materially improve the quality of life and future of wellness for individuals – patients, parents, and other caretakers. While the future looks uncertain at times, I am inspired by what this industry continues to accomplish, and deeply passionate about challenging my clients and their organizations to enable this impact and more.

As Pharma looks to the future, I am inspired to be part of a company that is in its own parallel journey towards advancing our impact across global health stakeholders. So, as I take on this new role, I want to share a few of my business goals, and how ZS continues to help others on the path to better health:

Relentless Focus on Innovation

For 35 years, ZS has been known as the trusted partner in pharma for bringing value to clients at scale. This is a result of our core focus on innovation. Our significant investment in innovation – and internal incubation of the most industry-changing solutions – is one of the ways we advance our offerings and value to our Pharma clients who are pursuing better patient outcomes. For example, ZS recently acquired Medullan, a leader in digital health and digital medicine strategies, to enable industry-wide changes and drive impact at scale.

In my new role, I will champion innovation across all steps in the biomedical lifecycle and challenge ZS and the industry to continuously and creatively self-disrupt to enable speed, efficiency, and quality.

Outside-In and Inside-Out Expertise

In conversations with my clients and other pharma leaders, many similar questions arise: What is the future of the go-to-market model? How do I stay competitive in an increasingly crowded market? How should my clinical strategy shift in a global model? What is the right balance of focus in R&D and internal vs. acquired development?

Whether the questions center on the short, mid-or long term, ZS will bring attention to the trends shaping the pharma sector with a strong dose of “so what” to help prioritize where our clients and ZS can focus and achieve results. Defining the how is the hardest part, and one of the things we are known for. In a connected ecosystem, we will continue to expand our depth, service to, and relationship with stakeholders across healthcare, bridging those perspectives into our work in life sciences.

Unrivaled Domain & Impact

ZS leads with a values-driven culture, delivering “impact where it matters.” We are committed to the industry and being a partner for biopharma, from R&D to commercial, US to global. This means a customized focus from deep and passionate experts who are continuously pushing the status quo.

I look forward to working closely with you and other pharma industry partners to advance the health and wellness of patients worldwide. By working together, we’ll be one step closer to ensuring better health for all.