2016 – A Year of Acquisitions, Breakthroughs & Global Viruses

2016 was a huge year for sport with the Olympics being held in the beautiful back drop of Brazil. The Zika virus reared its head in late 2015, with the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring an outbreak that was fast becoming a serious threat to not only the Americas population but the athletes travelling to Brazil to compete in the Olympics.

An unknown entity in terms of viruses with only 14 cases of human the Zika virus documented. WHO declared the Virus to be under control in November 2016.

We saw the circus come to town when Elizabeth Holmes became, arguably the most lucrative, successful entrepreneur to ever walk on this planet to then, overnight becoming a menace to the blood testing society.

Thernos broke onto the scene promising to change the way people got blood tests, but fast became a soap opera within months of being found that only 15 of the 240 tests Thernos conducts are on their own machines. Elizabeth Holmes claims of being transparent were fast becoming translucent. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which regulates Theranos, sends the company a letter saying that the company’s blood tests “pose immediate jeopardy to patient health and safety.” (ref: Forbes.com) Elizabeth Holmes of being one of the richest entrepreneurs in the States, with a wealth of $4.5 billion effectively was wiped away overnight by the very organisations who gave the valuation, Forbes. Concluding with 43% of Thernos’s workforce being laid off in light of the company’s’ ‘shift’ in strategy.

Martin Shkreli, remember him? The infamous price hiker who took the drug Daraprim in September 2016 from $13.50 per pill to $750. An increase that had no research or investigation into the economies and affect it would have on the marketplace. Shkreli has created many enemies from leading pharmaceutical companies, right the way through to prominent governmental personalities (one being Hilary Clinton).

It remains to be seen what will happen to Martin Shkreli, however with the negative PR it has created around ‘greed’ within particular pockets of the pharmaceutical industry. It shows there is no place for it and the ethically driven pharmaceutical companies will support the notion of eradicating such practices (price hiking).

In one of the largest acquisitions of 2016 Shire bought Baxalta in a deal worth £22billion! The deal was courted over a number of months which now makes Shire, the leading pharmaceutical company in treating rare diseases.

The two companies have said that are on track to achieve growth of 20billion Dollars by 2020, in general terms the pharmaceutical industry were leading the race in acquisitions. The Shire/ Baxalta deal marks a strong start to mergers and acquisitions in healthcare in 2016 after the sector had its biggest deal-making streak in history last year, with global transactions totalling $673 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The packaging remit within the pharmaceutical industry has grown significantly in 2016 and there are many stand out trends that have occurred:
– Child Resistance
– Counterfeits/ Serialization

Are the two main subjects matters around the manufacturers of pharmaceutical packaging in 2016 and have begun to gain even more momentum.

Blister packaging is growing rapidly due to its ability to adjust to different size drugs and controls the end user as to when to take the medication (a large problem across the globe). However, there is still the white elephant in the room when it comes to child resistance and flexible packaging. There is still a missing element to delivering a child proof packaging formation which includes a form of blister packaging – one for 2017?

Child ingestions due to non compliant child resitant packaging leading to fatalities is still a huge issue within the pharmaceutical industry. The European Child Safety Alliance revealed figures over 3000 children under the age of 14 dying from poisoning ingestion. 90% of those fatalities were at home. Regulations and the relevant authorities are becoming increasingly stringent with child resistant packaging and the need for it to be apparent within many drug products.

Consumers who are the generation of millennials are becoming a lot more conscientious with what they purchase and what effect those products will have on the environment. The OTC market is becoming a lion’s den and is tough to gain any competitive advantage.

Pharmaceutical companies are now looking to their packaging formations to create an emotional buying strategy with the end user. Reduction in materials is a large unique selling points, as it means the packaging will be less harmful to the environment.

In addition to this, pharmaceutical companies are using their packaging to maximise their marketing efforts. QR codes are used to allow users to download vast amounts of information regarding the product/ brand.

Packaging is now playing an interactive role with the end users, which is subliminally building repeat buy and more importantly, trust.