Beyond-the-pill, around it or without it? Let's stop the buzz

Look Beyond-The-Wall

I am a huge fan of #GOT.

I couldn’t resist having this picture of the wall of the night watch every time I hear this expression:

b e y o n d – t h e – p i l l

An old buzz word that was wrapped around anything digital is now wrapped around anything “innovative”.

Can you remember the last time you heard this notion of going beyond-the-pill?

I do. It was at the eyeforpharma congress in Barcelona almost 10 years ago.

Since then we kept using these fancy marketing boxes to classify a project in order to launch a pilot or worse: try to scale it.

In reality a lot of startups are doing beyond-the-you-name-it. They do it surprising well without being that close to pharma.

So what’s beyond the wall?

Well, if you try having a sneak preview, you’ll see a lot of initiatives around innovation lab, hackatons, accelerators, summits & conferences, spin-offs, VCs fund… These are the wildlings you have in Game of Thrones. They seem to be unorganised, ignoring code of conducts but they do fight the innovation battles really well.

Who are the night’s watch men?

Perhaps us. Pharma people.

We are holding the truth on how to bring value through our drugs and services beyond just producing them. And what’s behind us? Several kingdoms of policy makers, HCPs association and communities of patients fighting their own battles as well, all justified of course.

Ok. In this picture then, who are the night’s walkers?

I believe you could argue looking at these from different angles. For some people, the industry could look like walkers with blue eyes but it is just a perspective issue in my honest opinion. I’d like to think differently and to look at the dead walkers as all the issues or road blocks coming towards us because of environmental context: cost of medicine, access, regulatory pressure, innovation speed, growing population…

For some, the death comes from a world ruled by un-regulated data, where trusts would dictate your behaviour and access to healthcare. We are approaching the Sci-Fi realm here but you could see how much these raise questions regarding genomics data and are stressing the ethical aspects of the industry.

Like in #GOT, I can’t resist to see the healthcare industry with a wall that is doomed to fall, and the only way to survive the challenges we have is to partner with the Wildlings, the Startup Nation, and bringing them on-board.

I can’t see us building new walls and more complexity: it is time to settle a new camp with a vocabulary that everyone understands. And guess what: this exists already! I’ll invite all my colleagues in the industry to have a look at how the FinTech industry shifted in the last 10 years (yes it is also regulated) and to learn how big players are adopting digital frameworks that unlock world-class potential.

It is still striking to see that you can have an IBAN worldwide and send money to someone but still not share your healthcare data points with any hospital to get a second opinion on your diagnostic.

If you have one thing to get from this: NO, technologies, startups or digital tactics are not miraculous dragons giving you a magical edge to your innovation battle. They are a means to an end that should deliver impact and outcomes. When you’ll be listening to the keynotes or looking to vendors brochure at the next eyeforpharma congress in Barcelona, please keep in mind this picture to not fall on the same trap we did almost10 years ago and call the bluff when you see it.

I truly hope that now the healthcare industry is ready to lift-off, embracing collaboration, and we are not creating our own Game of Thrones.

See you soon in Barcelona #efpbarca.

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