The impact of AI on the Pharmaceutical industry

Broadly, AI is defined as a computer system able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. It includes three distinct types: Human created algorithms, Machine learning and Deep learning.

We currently work on human based algorithms, evidence based approaches which are programmed by researchers or clinicians. We embed known data into algorithms which extract information and apply it to a given situation, providing us with choices of available treatment and recommended drug combinations.

Our technical ecosystem is on it’s way to being so interconnected, that everything we use involving technology will have the bases of machine learning into the system.
Machine learning relies on “neural networks”. These are computer systems based on the human brain. It uses “multilevel probabilistic analysis” which allows computers to simulate the data processing of the human brain, therefore not even the programmers are able to tell how the computer arrives at the final solution.

Thus far, the use of machine learning in the Pharmaceutical industry has been minimal, however the potential applications to the industry are game changing.

Some of the potential applications include

  • Disease identification and diagnosis
  • Radiology and radiotherapy
  • Clinical trial research
  • Personalised medicine and rare disease identification
  • Drug discovery
  • Deep learning

There are a few current things AI is being used for in the industry, these are as follows

  • Conducting repetitive tasks
  • Data management
  • Analysis of healthcare systems
  • Natural language processing
  • Medical consultants
  • Digital “nurses”
  • Medication management

There are however some sticking points with AI and its implementation into the Pharma industry. The unfamiliarity of the technology is unnerving to some as how far it can go is unknown. The lack of a proper IT infrastructure in place means the implementation of it would be extremely expensive, as the systems used were not created with the idea of AI in mind.

The thought of AI and the positive impacts it could have on the industry are great, however AI is one of the most talked about revelations in technology ever, with the potential advantages being countered by the potential threats to both industry and arguably more importantly, our existence in the world as we know it.

Did you know?

  • The UK Chemical and Pharmaceutical industry is the second largest in the UK, only with the food, beverage and tobacco processing sector above it. It adds 18 billion to the economy every year, from an annual turnover of 50 billion

HFL Consulting

  • China is still the largest chemical producer in the world, contributing 37.2% of global sales in 2017

  • In 1999 Pfizer purchased Warner-Lambert for $87.3billion, the 6th biggest deal in M&H history

The Motley Fool

  • The revenue of the worldwide pharmaceutical market in 2018 was $1024.8 Billion

  • In the United States, the cost of prescription drugs rises by 12% every year