This past year, as in every year before it, the media largely focused on controversies in the pharmaceutical world. The public at large became obsessed with hating boy-terror Martin Shkreli, while big-name mergers like the Pfizer-Allergan deal became major news stories. The Pfizer deal was irresistible to content producers everywhere, as it finally gave them the opportunity to use the words Botox and Viagra in the same headline.
Of course, most members of the public are less interested in the actual news that drives the industry. So beyond Botox and the antics of Martin Shkreli, what were the major trends that flew beneath the radar in 2015?
1. Mergers, Mergers, More Mergers
While the proposed $160 billion merger between Pfizer and Allergan was the biggest deal of the year, and one of the biggest ever, it was hardly the only merger and acquisition of 2015, which saw record levels of M and A activity. According to some industry experts, pharma mergers and acquisitions peaked in 2015, while others believe the trend will only continue into 2016. The trend has gone international as well, with more companies seeking to outsource vital operations overseas driven by a surge in cross-border mergers.
2. Big Changes to Big Plastic Include Advanced Plastic Pharmaceutical Containers
Big Pharma companies aren’t the only ones undergoing a period of intense M and A activity. But while pharmaceutical mergers are on the upswing, the plastic packaging industry has already passed the climax of its own merger frenzy. Over the past decade, plastic injection molding manufacturers have gone through a major period of consolidation, particularly in companies that specialize in plastic pharmaceutical containers.
But as medical injection molding suppliers change, so does the technology. While traditional pharmaceutical bottles are as popular as ever, the demand for innovative plastic pharmaceutical containers is rising fast. New printing capabilities, new child safe pharmaceutical containers and closures for liquid medicine, and 3D printing are just some of the new technologies offered by the plastic injection molding of the 21st century.
3. More Scrutiny
Across nearly every facet of the pharmaceutical industry, regulators, consumers, and the press are adding new levels of scrutiny. Shkreli earned the hatred of not just the public, but his peers and colleagues. His radical price increases threw an obscure corner of the pharmaceutical industry into the spotlight, putting new pressures on legitimate companies. And as high-profile mergers become more common, regulators are taking a closer look behind the curtain. Even U.S. presidential candidates are pledging new regulations to prevent offshoring activities.
Without a doubt, much more intense levels of scrutiny was the biggest trend in the pharmaceutical industry of 2015.