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China as the digital transformation sandbox for pharma multinationals

Deloitte report suggests pharma companies in China leverage digitalized market landscalpe to transform models of commercial engagement

Published Date: 15 July 2020

In a new report, Deloitte China's Life Sciences & Health Care (LSHC) team explores how pharma companies can leverage China's highly digitalized market landscape to test digital commercial engagement models before scaling them for global success.

According to the report, China as a digital transformation sandbox: A prescription for pharma multinationals, China's emerging digital healthcare ecosystem is empowering innovative commercial models in the pharma industry. New offerings, engagement models and technologies are being rapidly tested in the Chinese market, and companies are exploring digital solutions to address consumers' unmet needs. These digital transformations enable multinationals to create and test new offerings and services quickly and flexibly, accelerate the commercialization of their capabilities in China, and facilitate fast scalability of products and ideas into other markets.

The report identifies four areas of digital transformation in which companies can create value: launch excellence and sales effectiveness; engagement with healthcare professionals; integrated care management and overall wellbeing; reimbursement and market access.

Addressing the digital transformation of pharma company business models, Deloitte China LSHC Leader Jens Ewert says, "On the strategic front, pharma companies should embrace two components - shaping ecosystem development and using data as an enabler - to enhance their digital commercial engagement capabilities. Tactically, we recommend industry players build digital transformation capabilities customized to needs and goals. Enabling platforms, user relationships and data insights are driving multinationals' digital investment in the Chinese technology market, and pharma companies should be taking note."

China is becoming a major growth engine for multinational pharma companies, with some of them increasingly infusing commercial and engagement models developed in China into other markets. The report suggests they prepare for rapid innovation, be customer-centric, and create digital cultures.

"Companies should implement digital transformation from within. This means shifting from 'doing digital' to 'being digital', because successful digital transformations begin with changes in culture,'' adds Deloitte China LSHC Consulting Partner Carrie Xiao. "COVID-19 has accelerated change in the Chinese healthcare ecosystem, and new value generation opportunities could arise for pharma companies. To benefit, pharma companies should reassess their commercial engagement models across stakeholder groups, accelerate adoption of patient-centric care models, and emphasize overall wellbeing."

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