EUROPEAN DRUG FIRMS EYE SHIFT TOWARDS SECONDARY CARE

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Nine out of ten European pharmaceutical companies believe that they will have to make significant changes to their businesses, owing to the drug sector's increasing shift towards secondary care, according to a new report.

The current pipeline of drugs being developed by the major European drugmakers has an emphasis on hospital care, as companies look to produce medium-sized, hospital-based treatments. A number of market sources have also predicted the demise of the "blockbuster" drug. With patents due to expire on a generation of leading treatments, some observers believe that the era of major medicines prescribed by doctors may be ending.

The report goes onto state that the majority of respondents believe that the most drastic changes will occur in sales and marketing. This will involve placing more emphasis on forming relationships with key players in the secondary care market, such as reimbursement agencies and insurance companies. However, 71% of those surveyed still believed that family doctors remain the major decision-makers in secondary care, even if their importance as prescribers of drugs is set to decline.