One practical way to get ahead is to harness automation in the preparation of data by identifying and selecting the definitive source documents; checking for updates; and aligning languages, fonts and other intricacies. Sophisticated tools are available that reliably and precisely compare files in different formats for the possible information they contain. This ability to quickly contrast content of similar documents from multiple sources in large batches could help save firms vast amounts of time in this substantial preparatory stage of getting the company’s product data assets in order.
The global market is currently experiencing a turbulent period, as national elections continue, governments change and the UK edges closer to Brexit. One of the practical concerns for life sciences is how this might affect the regulatory landscape, and momentum behind specific regulatory developments such as the phasing in of ISO Identification of Medicinal Products (IDMP).
Life sciences technology vendors and consultancies are busy promoting Identification of Medicinal Products (IDMP) compliance solutions, which seems odd given that many details of the final requirements have yet to be published. With a further two years to go until the latest deadline comes around, organisations have every reason to be sceptical of the value of investing now, says Marc Chaillou of Schlafender Hase.
Harnessing automation is one way to minimise the burden on skilled personnel. When it comes to organising and verifying definitive source documents, checking for accuracy and currency, and comparing these across different languages, file and font types, there are now sophisticated tools that can help relieve the pressure on already time-starved teams – taking care of the heavy lifting so the overseeing professionals only need to proof content once, as a final check.
Change is the only constant in the new normal, something that applies as much to life sciences now as to other markets more readily associated with disruption, such as retail and banking. But the pharmaceutical industry is not known for its adaptability, so how will it weather the choppy conditions currently characterising the market – and can technology ease the strain?
Within all of this, the clinical trials process carries its own particular share of risks and associated costs. If drugs do not pass human testing – and most don’t – all of the work that precedes this will have been for nothing: certainly it will not deliver the expected return. So life sciences companies need robust processes in place to ensure that products are taken absolutely correctly, leaving no scope for error in dosage, for example.
The life sciences industry, keen to reduce its reliance on expensive blockbuster drugs, has recognised the opportunity and wants its share of the action. Many firms are now embracing health foods and nutraceuticals through acquisition or partnership, or the expansion of existing businesses to include new divisions.
Its new Nutrition Facts label guidance, which applies to packaged foods, will ensure that labelling reflects the latest scientific information, including the link between diet and chronic diseases, for example. New requirements also include updated serving sizes, and a refreshed design which highlights information such as calorie content, portion size, added sugar content. New nutrients must be declared too, including Vitamin D and potassium, to combat associated deficiencies.