Opinion by: Ahmed Abo El Fadl – General Manager Gulf at Healthcare Business, Merck
Though the past two years introduced a host of challenges that affected almost every industry and sector, the pharma industry has shouldered the changes and continued to grow. The rise of tech-assisted methods and tools had already given rise to transformational shifts in the industry, and it was well on its way to becoming more innovation-led and technology-reliant. As a result, pharma was beginning to change, accelerated by the outcome of the pandemic.
The challenges and the disruptions:
Quick digitalization has by now become an imperative change, more so in the pharma industry that was faced with the task of serving customers and key stakeholders amid travel disruptions and all the preventive measures that halted the normal flow of business.
While the world was figuring out ways to keep its people safe, the industry worked towards a new reality where digital healthcare was the foundation. The contagion amplified the need for accelerated innovation if the needs of providers and patients were to be met.
Another major challenge that faced the industry during and as a result of the pandemic was the need to improve flexibility in the workplace to meet the rapidly changing demands of employees throughout the world.
The solutions and the response:
As one of the most important industries of the global economy, the pharma industry had no choice but to put up a brave fight and come out stronger from such challenges. The Middle East, in particular, as a hub for performance, talent, and culture, saw a collective effort of organizations change their operating methods, taking the tech route to ensure human capital was invested in and strong leaders were nurtured within the industry.
We at Merck Gulf implemented a Hybrid customer engagement model, as we gradually started to engage F2F with our customers across markets, we intend to continue with the virtual engagement to intensify our presence in the industry. We adapted to flexible working models for our employees. Our aim is to create an inspiring work environment creating a work-life balance and motivating our people while concentrating on our business goals.
To further navigate our digitalizing and innovation needs, we took a number of steps, most notably the innovative launch of M2U. This e-commerce platform is designed for medical professionals in the UAE to order Merck products and manage their inventory & forecasts with quick and easy access. It seeks to simplify the operational process where we aim to benefit both our customers and patients and ensure a continuous supply of our medications.
The road to a brighter future:
At Merck, making medications accessible to everyone has been our focus since the beginning, continuously driving us to progress upon our services to ensure that treatments are accessible to every patient. The UAE’s pharmaceutical sector has developed exponentially over the past decades with the government’s support and guidance through a forward-thinking leadership. Since the launch of our operations in 2007, we have been proud to be part of this growth and success, working alongside the government, doctors, patients, charity organizations, insurance companies, and everyone involved in the industry and its processes. We seek to ease accessibility and reach the largest number of patients, reflected through an array of initiatives such as our recent collaboration with the Ministry of Health & Prevention (MOHAP) on the “RAWAN” initiative to support patients in UAE diagnosed with cancer facing accessibility issues.
We take it upon us to continuously innovate and further embrace evolving digital technologies to better serve the community; that is what the future of the pharma industry demands.
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