Uncertainty and new technologies require new thinking

Brexit is coming.

Despite repeated warnings and pleas from the industry, the UK government and the EU have failed to definitively clarify what regulatory and logistical changes pharma will have to adjust to. This means that Brexit, in all its potential forms, has exposed and possibly even created vulnerabilities in the pharma industry.

To negotiate the challenges ahead, both British and European firms will have to make use of innovative workforce solutions that enable quick, accurate and efficient allocation of expertise.

Uncertainty and new technologies require new thinking

With Brexit rendering the UK’s use of the EMA’s centralised procedure for new drug applications uncertain, the future of how UK firms will register and market new drugs in the EU is unclear. Equally unclear is how European firms will access existing UK medicines. AstraZeneca, as well as other major European firms, have announced that they will increase stockpiles of British medicines and drugs to prepare for a potential no-deal Brexit.

Such uncertainty has served to underline the need for new thinking in workforce solutions and resource allocation. New thinking will be required to manage the unpredictable and uncertain outcomes of Brexit, as well as helping the industry manage its adaptations to new technologies.

Where it was once considered certain that new technologies would replace jobs, the pharma industry is now discovering how to work alongside new technologies. An upshot to new technology is the enhancement of project-oriented work. Instead of organising work through fixed departments and roles, firms are now able to access the world’s best experts and talent, and manage their work on a project-by-project basis. The challenges then become: identifying what exactly the project requires, and identifying and accessing the right talent to address these challenges. This is where COMATCH comes in.

COMATCH and the access to the right talent

COMATCH builds Flash Organisations.

Flash Organisations are the Stanford University backed model for accessing and utilising talent from around the world. They are essentially project focused, short-term teams that combine the optimum mix of capabilities and expertise for the task. With access to an online global marketplace for talent, organisations can now quickly and efficiently assemble a hybrid team of internal and external experts to achieve defined objectives. Once the project is completed, the team disbands.

Although the pharma industry already uses Flash Organisations (in launching new products, for example) it could do much more to take advantage of external expertise. Not only could it manage discrete projects better, it could also manage the regulatory uncertainty around Brexit better.

For instance, even if drug discovery and manufacture are improved through digitalisation and the use of new technologies, it won’t make the distribution of drugs any easier in the European market if there is a no-deal Brexit. UK firms will have to make use of additional expertise to guide new drugs toward a viable situation with all the safeguards Europe demands.

Flash Organisations and COMATCH provide the agile business solutions the pharma industry needs. With the invaluable resources and knowledge COMATCH’s global pool of experts provide, the industry has all it requires to negotiate its major project obstacles and the enormous challenges of Brexit.

Charlotte Gregson is COMATCH’s new managing director for the UK and Ireland. For further information don’t hesitate to contact her at c.gregson@comatch.com or visit comatch.com. If you’re a consultant looking to join the network, please register online or reach out to Maud Gosink at m.gosink@comatch.com