What Can We Expect in Pharma in 2023?

Drug pricing, CMS getting negotiating power for drug purchasing, vaccines, clinical trials, artificial intelligence, and Pharmacists becoming care givers. These are the highlights of 2022, what do the experts say we will see in 2023? We rounded up some experts and asked them just that. And join us for the next few weeks as we look at what we might see in 2023.

Liz Beatty, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Inato
Twitter: @inatohealth

Expanding into the clinical trial marketplace.
We’ll see digital health vendors increasingly eyeing the clinical trial market as a key area for expansion. This will be especially true as competition grows fiercer while economic and investment landscapes tighten, which could create a compounding effect that even further accelerates clinical-trial diversity efforts.

Patients will have significantly more flexible ways to participate in clinical trials – and especially for more serious conditions.
While digital health and decentralized trial adoption grew significantly this year, in 2023, we’ll see trial sponsors and trial sites make in-person clinical trials much more flexible, making it easier for more people to participate – and for a greater variety of conditions.

Reducing clinical trial participation barriers.
Next year, trial sites and sponsors make it more patient-friendly trials by introducing more blended virtual + in-person frameworks, extending clinic hours so working people can participate, and even adding in incentives like childcare or transportation elements. As a result, more people will be able to participate in more trials for more conditions.

Digital health innovation explodes.
Digital health innovation has led to an explosion in decentralized trial adoption, which enables life sciences companies and research organizations to reach patients almost anywhere. No longer are researchers always bound by geographical considerations, so life sciences companies can execute more diverse clinical trials by remotely engaging patients in their own homes. It’s especially true for conducting trials on therapeutics for lower-acuity conditions.

Saket Patel, Consultant, MMIT
Twitter: @MMITNetwork

In 2022, we saw much debate among experts around whether or not biosimilars will be successful in reducing drug costs. I believe that we’ll truly start to see the impact of biosimilars on patient access to drugs in 2023, and that the combination of action from the FDA, an influx of biosimilar availability, and improved patent practices will lead to greater access and lower drug costs.

Mike Munsell, Director of Research, Panalgo
Twitter: @panalgoinsights

Clinical trial diversity has historically been an issue, but pharma companies are starting to realize that they can leverage real-world data and analytics software to work towards recruiting a more representative set of participants. In 2023, we’re likely to see more organizations committing to greater diversity and equity in clinical trials and improving clinical trial design, which will result in stronger insights from trials and ultimately better patient health outcomes.

Ian Manners, Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Life Sciences, TailorMed
Twitter: @TailorMedTweet

Drug pricing reforms meet reality
As key provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act enter the rule-making process, we will start to see more public debate about its consequences — as well as litigation from the pharma industry seeking to block their enactment. While 2023 will probably not be the year that all of these issues get resolved, we should expect to know far more about the IRA’s impacts than we did at the time of its passage. We’ll also be much closer to the 2024 phase-in of a new Medicare Part D out-of-pocket cost cap for seniors.

More pressure on providers to address rising healthcare costs
In 2022, drug companies took most of the public heat for rising healthcare costs, culminating in the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act and its Medicare price negotiation provisions. Next year, the focus will shift to providers, especially large health systems. We can expect a continued debate about the question of who is most responsible for patients’ unaffordable out-of-pocket costs. Non-profit health systems, in particular, will come under increasing pressure to demonstrate that they are putting patient interests first and doing their part to improve affordability.

One way to stay ahead of this debate is for provider organizations to look for ways that they can proactively address medical debt. For non-profit health systems, in particular, that could mean offering financial hardship programs earlier in the patient journey and avoiding medical debt in the first place. Those same organizations should also broaden the roll-out of financial navigation workflows to identify patients at risk for medical debt, then automatically enroll them in relevant financial resources.

With the recent pace of development in financial navigation technology, it’s possible for providers to be both efficient and equitable in their offering. Financial resources have tended to be most used most heavily by savvy patients who know how to navigate the system, but we will start to see this change as the barriers to securing those resources come down.

Sujay Jadhav, CEO, Verana Health
Twitter: @veranahealth

Applying advanced artificial intelligence capabilities such as machine learning and natural language processing to electronic health records and other data sources will help to generate quality real-world data faster and at scale. This brings the potential to transform healthcare research for clinicians and life sciences companies, which could accelerate improved treatment options for patients and help pharma and biopharma organizations better tackle some of the financial and time challenges they face in developing and marketing new drugs. Ultimately, getting to a deeper understanding more quickly has the potential to improve access to and efficiency of clinical trials, and more easily monitor physician prescribing patterns, treatment efficacy, safety and market uptake.

Jane Myles, VP of Clinical Trial Innovation, Curebase
Twitter: @CurebaseDCT

In the new year, we will see clearer regulatory guidance on where DCTs are headed, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. The release of ICH E6 is likely to clarify some aspects of data expectations and standards. The site landscape for clinical trial conduct will continue to evolve with new players like Walgreens, Walmart, Best Buy, etc., getting involved. Additionally, patients will seek optionality, whether it’s telehealth, online data entry, or using their own doctors; patients want options in clinical trials, not just a tech-enabled care model. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to running modern trials, managing complicated health decisions, and conditions.

Chirag Patel, PharmD, MBA, Senior Product Manager, FDB (First Databank, Inc.)
Twitter: @FDB_US

Pharmacists have faced significant challenges and increasing demands on their time in recent years, and this trend is expected to continue in 2023. In order to improve patient care and reduce the workload on pharmacists, I expect that pharmacies will examine and streamline several areas of pharmacists’ workflow. This may include reevaluating processes such as drug utilization reviews (DUR), which are crucial for ensuring patient safety, but can be time-consuming and repetitive. By streamlining decision support and presenting only relevant and actionable clinical guidance, pharmacists can save valuable time. This will enable pharmacists to focus on providing high-quality patient counseling and care services, such as discussing medication interactions and side effects, offering therapeutic alternatives, and administering immunizations and conducting testing.