2017 Pharma CI USA Conference Review

During September 12-13, 2017, pharmaceutical professionals gathered in Parsippany, NJ for the annual Pharma CI USA conference to share best practices in Competitive Intelligence (CI) and explore how new perspectives can lead to improved CI insights. Presentation themes ranged from emerging trends in drug development and delivery to how to measure the value of CI.

Pharmaceutical Market Size:

The keynote presentation, delivered by Clive Meanwell, The Medicines Company, highlighted how the drug market has changed in the past twenty years. In 2000, the top ten drugs in the U.S. market generated total revenues of $34 billion (adjusted for inflation) and served a potential market of 413 million people (some patients were candidates for more than one drug). By 2017, the top ten drugs generated $84 billion and served a potential market of 54 million people. The 2017 top ten drugs are large molecules and are nineteen times higher on a cost per patient scale than the 2000 drugs. This is a clear indication that the market has shifted from volume to value. The presentation recommendations were to strengthen the link between a new drug and its value by engaging the customer early in the process, include the payer in the process, focus on what problem the drug solves, define the value proposition before competitors, and be innovative in all areas.

Source: The Medicines Company, Pharma CI USA 2017

Drug Delivery Devices:

Fletcher/CSI led a presentation on how drug delivery systems can offer competitive advantage and discussed the evolution of simple devices to complex systems. The role of large molecule drug development and its link to new specialized delivery methods was a key part of the presentation. Effective development of sophisticated delivery systems requires CI professionals to engage a wide range of company and external resources to track competitor innovations and identify potential partners. The session concluded with a call for all Pharma CI professionals to increase their awareness of drug delivery systems and incorporate that awareness into the competitive landscape.


Source: Fletcher/CSI, Pharma CI USA 2017

CI Tools and Research Methodologies:

Several sessions emphasized the role of social listening in CI, including following specific KOLs and competitor employees, and its use at large, patient-focused conferences. This method can generate weak signals that indicate where to focus additional research efforts. A session from Merck discussed integrating external agencies into company CI programs to create more collaborative relationships. Furthermore, some of the automated tools presented centered on pre-conference planning for trade shows. This activity requires a degree of sophistication that includes leveraging mobile apps, customizable filtering features, and proactive monitoring for late-breaking data releases. These tools and planning methods reduce some of the challenges associated with trade show intelligence.

Measuring the Impact of CI:

Eli Lilly presented some tools and techniques that can measure an internal CI unit’s impact. The Lilly process measures five key factors. The first, and most important, is the output quality in terms of meeting customer expectations. A Net Promoter Score follows to measure how willing the customers are to refer others to the CI unit. Insight, the next marker, is measured using a ranking scale on four key factors. Fourth, the CI unit’s impact is measured on a grid that tracks a customer assessment against pre-project assessments. Finally, Lilly compares each of its factors against impact to demonstrate value.

Source: Eli Lilly, Pharma CI USA 2017

Brand Identity:

Abbott’s global marketing organization discussed the importance of insights and CI to drive an effective global strategy, and the core requirements needed to assemble the right team of people. When that is in place, it allows for knowledge sharing and pooling of ideas from contributors across different functions and diverse parts of an organization. This diversity allows high functioning teams to enter a ‘test-learn-refine’ loop as the fuel and momentum needed to identify and mobilize strategic actions to achieve desired results.


The two-day, Pharma CI USA conference had a full schedule and there were too many different sessions to include each one in this summary. Overall, there was an even mix of patient side and provider side presentations, and a good blend of perspectives about both the pharmaceutical industry and competitive strategy. Fletcher/CSI was proud to be a sponsor of the event, and we look forward to seeing the attendees at other CI related events in the coming years.

To learn more about how Fletcher/CSI can support your CI efforts and Life Sciences strategy development, please visit our website www.flecthercsi.com or call Cinda Steele at 610-496-0080.