Personalization Status: It’s Complicated

New trends streamline efficiency, but also add complexity

By Karen Langhauser, Chief Content Director

In the 10 days following the news about Facebook’s data privacy breach involving political consultancy, Cambridge Analytica, Facebook shares dropped almost 18 percent.

This was a prime example of consumers’ love/hate relationship with personalization. On the one hand, we’ve come to expect that marketers know us and what we want. We no longer have the patience to sift through information that isn’t relevant to our interests.

In this regard, personalization has made life exponentially more efficient. But reducing the amount of time spent sifting through non-targeted marketing adds an additional layer of complexity further down the chain. When it comes to personalized marketing, this complexity comes in the form of data privacy concerns.

After a data analytics company used by Trump’s presidential campaign was able to collect data on millions of people through a quiz app, Facebook’s data handling practices were thrust into the national spotlight, leaving CEO Mark Zuckerberg in the hot seat. The public quickly came to realize that while Facebook enables you to share aspects of your life with the click of a button, it simultaneously brings complications to other areas.

Personalization in the pharmaceutical industry has come in the form of precision medicines. These targeted treatments use an individual’s genetic blueprint to better determine each person’s disease susceptibility, increasing the chances of treatment success and reducing possible adverse reactions. These new drug therapies represent a more efficient way of treatment.

The personalized medicine trend has opened the door to new manufacturing efficiencies as well. As you will read in our cover story, improvements in cell development, coupled with advancements in facility design and technologies have enabled plants to shrink their plant floor footprint. In Amgen’s case, their new facility is one fifth the size of a traditional plant but maintains a comparable output. The plant of the future very well may be a fraction of that size, necessitating a fraction of utilities and resources.

Are pharma manufacturers and suppliers prepared for this change? In many ways, what’s considered standard practice in traditional pharma supply chains does not apply to personalized meds, and new approaches must be developed. Speed is a huge obstacle — relatively unstable materials need to be kept at regulated temperatures and transported quickly. Cycle times that are traditionally months long need to be reduced to several days. The complexity of the supply chain will greatly increase.

This era of personalization has incredible advantages, but with them come new complexities —from data privacy to supply chains. For pharma, if companies adapt to meet these new supply chain challenges, the future looks remarkably compact and efficient. And that’s a status that deserves a few “likes.”

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