3 FACTS THAT PUSHED AN INDUSTRY FROM ASPIRIN TO ASPIRATION
How technology and innovation will drive the Pharma industry.
Ever since the pyramids were erected in Giza, the need for medication and surgery were required.
During the Stone Age, as early as 3,300 B.C, studies have shown that primitive forms of herbal condiments were used to treat wounds and certain lung disorders. Ayurveda, from the annals of the Hindu Veda scriptures, can be traced back to almost 4,000 B.C. The first institution to train individuals in the field of physiology and medication was established in Italy, around the 15th century.
Although the first landmark in the healthcare industry was the accidental discovery of Penicillin by Scottish scientist Alexander Fleming, in the year 1928. The widespread use of Penicillin was initiated only in 1942 to treat infections caused by Streptococci Bacterium. But over time, Penicillin resistant bacteria began to come to life. And it wasn’t an isolated situation, as over time viruses and parasites begun mutating and developing resistance over their target medication that it became important to continuously develop more advanced strains of medicines, and this sparked off the birth of the Pharmaceutical and Drug testing industry.
In 2018, the Pharmaceutical industry is one of the Top 3 industries in the world. In 2017, the pharmaceutical industry pumped nearly 24 Billion USD into advertising and PR, with 12 Billion USD from the United States alone.
The industry invests nearly 40 Billion USD a year on drug development and clinical trials, making it one of the biggest contributors to the international economy.
The need for constant innovation and development of drugs has risen drastically over the last 15 years. The growth spurt arose due to the birth of certain strains of bacterium and viruses that have begun adapting to the medication. As the causal organisms began to adapt to the quintessential drugs, the industry had to keep researching drugs to fight this mutation.
AI in Diagnostics
Bio-Medical Engineering (BME) is one of the backbones of the Healthcare and Pharmaceutical industry. The invention of the X-Ray is still considered one of the greatest inventions in all of mankind, and is a badge for the entire healthcare industry.
But just like how the drugs had to adapt to overcome the mutation, the BME industry had to come up with more invasive physiological mapping devices and surgical equipment, as the X-Ray wouldn’t suffice. MRIs, CAT-Scans and the DaVinci Surgical Robot are all testaments to this cause. But unfortunately, there seems to be one industry that was left uninterrupted throughout the ages, and still relies wholly on human interpretation. Diagnostics.
The ratio of misdiagnosis v/s accurate diagnosis is an unbalanced beam. In 2017, close to 12,142 cases of medical malpractices were observed, with more than 90% of them attributed towards misdiagnosis. This resulted in a 3.1 Billion USD pay out to all the recipients.
AI and Machine Learning programs can scour billions of lines of data, and curate them systematically to help in proper diagnosis. AI eliminates human error, and can help save the healthcare industry billions of dollars in legal fees.
Blockchain in Drug Composition
The components and active ingredients that goes into an average remedy is sourced from vendors and drug manufacturers from around the globe. Blockchain might definitely provide an immediate solution to the logistical nightmare that plagues the pharmaceutical industry, but the technology also stands a major chance in revolutionising the methodology through which drugs are manufactured today.
A distributed ledger can store all the information pertaining to the source, composition and quality, which will only help improve the drug production industry. Defective drugs arise due to the presence of untraceable, and lucid active ingredients.
Also, smart contracts will provide transparency as to the source of the remedies, which will reduce the invasion of low-quality and unapproved drugs in the market. Also, it can improve QNC by actively tracking the medical re-packaging industry.