Came across very nice infographic recently. It proves the point am trying to make here. So far, major effort (as well as regulations) have been directed at producer complying with norms and having perfectly safe product at consumer’s table.

Business always thought that customer is the king. Pipeline models typically put customer at the top of the value chain , indicating that everybody in the pipeline adds incremental values to serve the end customer.

Marketplace models have changed premise of that where consumers can play the role of the producer  or vice-versa. Imagine you order some goods of Amazon and sell some as well. This interplay of consumer and producer is leading to interesting phenomenon.

It is called ‘Responsible Consumerism’.

Consider typical drug manufacturing process, for example.

  1. It starts with pharma company identifying therapeutic area which they want to target and have competency in. At this stage, they are looking at thousands of compounds which can potentially cure specific disease.
  2. Next is pre-clinical trials especially on animals including rats. It is to determine side-effects as well as short-list potential compounds.
  3. Then, they file INDA (Investigational New Drug Application) with FDA or any other regulatory authorities. Once approved, they are authorized to test the drug on to humans.
  4. They start with Clinical trial – Phase I, which is targeted at 50-100 people to check safety and dosage of potential drug.
  5. Clinical trials – Phase II looks for success of the treatment. It is to determine whether potential drug really cure the disease as expected. They also look for side-effects if any.
  6. Clinical trials – Phase III are testing mass-application of potential drug with thousands of volunteers (healthy as well as infected) via series of trials. It generally takes 2-3 years alone to complete Phase III trials.
  7. Once Phase III trials are completed, pharma company files NDA (New Drug Application) with FDA or respective regulatory authorities.
  8. Once approved, they start mass manufacturing and distribution across pharmacy stores nationwide.

This is exactly how single drug pill reaches to Pharma store, when you visit it to purchase based on doctor’s prescription.

If you want to understand how much effort and price goes into making a single drug pill , here are some numbers.

It takes on-an-average 12-15 years to secure final FDA approval. Pharma companies typically invest up to $800 MN to develop single drug. If you consider time spent on numerous trials and related regulatory activities, it almost adds up to $1 BN to put single pill into pharmacy store, which is guaranteed to treat specific disease without any side effects. 

Now, how do we as consumers treat medications ?

Only 1 in 4 takes medicine as per instructions. 3 in 4 are non-adherent in one or many ways. Non-adherence costs with additional healthcare costs (estimated $300 BN).

Consider any industry and you will see consumers using the product in non-adherent ways thus causing lot of wastage/environmental damage in the process. Take, food wastage for example. Wastage at the end does not do justice to the entire value chain who works out to get food on the doorstep.

So, Mr. Consumer, do not treat yourself like a King anymore !

You are just the partner in the entire value chain process. So, acknowledge everybody else’s efforts in the chain and be RESPONSIBLE.