Over the last century, the biotechnology industry continues to produce life-saving drugs. With an estimated worth of $414 billion, the industry continues to offer health solutions, improving people’s general health. Moreover, the industry is also trying to deal with the rise in demand for food in populous countries like China. However, despite all this, the biotechnology industry is facing grave challenges that slow down its growth. They include;
The health sector’s general cost keeps on skyrocketing, and this is sadly destined to stay so. For example, a pill that treats cholesterol might cost you $5 daily, which adds up to approximately $1825 annually. On the other hand, a biotechnology drug will cost you around $20,000 every year. This makes it hard to incorporate biotech products into your budget. What will happen when a patient who seriously needs such medication cannot afford it? What about that patient who has insurance covering all the medicine but suddenly maxes out all the benefits? What if the insurer opts to avoid adding biotech drugs just because of the acquisition cost? Even though such instances don’t happen every day, there is still a possibility. It could end up as a two-choice situation, the patient or profit.
2. Societal Concerns
With all the new technologies being developed and adopted, the fast-paced industry is rapidly growing. However, the rate at which these technological advancements are being developed is seen to exceed the rate of adaption. This has continuously raised several biotechnological issues, especially with the developments that directly impact human beings (food, beverages). Some of these concerns include:
- Laboratory safety. Those who are unaware of what they are working on within the lab find it hard to safeguard themselves. Other technologies create commercial production lines even before they are safety approved. Technicians are also not so protected, even with all the safety guidelines and conditions.
- Bioterrorism. Many biological toxins can be used to attack and infect humans, animals, and plants. Bacteria, rickettsia, viruses, aflatoxins, and fungi can all be used as biological weapons.
- Environmental pollution. This is mostly due to genetically modified organisms.
- Ethical issues. Leave alone the cliché of cloning. Other genetic inventions have continued to raise eyebrows.
3. Patient Privacy
Protecting the privacy of the industry’s patients is a growing concern. Technologies have made it possible to decipher the human genome. Yes, this is an important invention that has positively helped the field. However, it makes it highly likely for patients’ information to be compromised. For example, a scientist can be able to know that a five-year-old boy may develop fatal heart complications. The big question here is whether or not a prospective employer has the right to know about that. How can this information affect a person’s ability to get employment, insurance, or even a mortgage? This problem seems to raise more and more questions gradually.
4. Collateral Delays
The break out of the Covid 19 pandemic has affected every industry globally, bringing to a halt most of the activities. The biotechnology industry was no exception. As a result, most clinical researches and trials were disrupted. Some of these include research for drugs and vaccines that were to be used to treat life-threatening and autoimmune diseases such as cancer. Such collateral delays mean that the industry has to go back to the drawing board and try to come up with policies that can improve productivity while at the same time abiding by all the regulations and restrictions in place.
5. Marketing Challenges
The biotechnology industry is confronted with setbacks when trying to put and push its product to the market. The core-problems include:
- Low R&D productivity
- The high cost of R&D
- A vital requirement to implement M&A
- Competition due to loss of patents
However, some biotechnology firms are trying to adopt the value chain used by pharmaceutical firms to raise the success rate and maneuver the market. More than sixty forms have also adopted innovative models such as FIPCO (Fully Integrated Pharma Companies), which will help the firms with long term goals and aims.
There is so much room for improvement in the biotechnology industry, especially since it is still in the early development stages. With significant breakthroughs imminent, some challenges will be reduced to a thing of the past.