The growth of China and Japan as leading markets for the Pharma and Biotech industry has made language an important factor for companies looking to be successful in global markets. Moreover, emerging markets in non-English speaking countries such as Brazil, Russia and Turkey has only increased the need for “Strategic Language Partnerships”. Navigating through regulatory requirements and Clinical Trial documentation in foreign languages seem like a daunting task just from the sound of it. An increasing number of companies prefer to outsource the language requirements in order to speed up approvals and decrease rejections.
With the current trends in the Pharma and Biotech Markets, we suspect the need to only increase. There are four definite areas that point towards the prominent role of language in the coming years.
Emerging Markets have More Promise
Since established markets in US and Europe have very little room for smaller players, SMEs are growing more confident that growing markets are a better investment. Pricing pressures and slower growth means that Big Pharma companies are also evaluating untapped markets. Among the top emerging markets, BRIC economies stand out the most with the probable addition of Mexico and Turkey. While China is already competitive, the others in the list are viewed as geographies with tremendous opportunity.
However, growing economies have their own challenges. Underdeveloped infrastructure and unique regulations mean that entry and success in these markets are more complex than they may seem. Seeking drug approvals in different geographies also means that Pharma companies will have to process multiple sets of clinical trials in each country. With the probable exception of India, other regions won’t have English as their language of choice which makes language intervention an absolute necessity.
The Increasing Involvement of China
The recent regulatory change in China has paved the way for more globally accepted drugs to be launched in China. However, they will still need to undergo the regulatory process as usual. We expect an increased effort from Pharma companies to launch more drugs in China which is the second largest Pharmaceutical market in the world. Biotech is also booming in China with the help of conscious Government support. There seems to be no shortage of investment either in this regard. Hence, you can expect BioTech companies to have a keen interest in expanding their focus to China in the coming years. Based on this, we foresee the demand for translation between English and Simplified Chinese to rise in the near future. Also, it will be wiser for companies to outsource their documentation requirements since adhering to the stringent protocols in Chinese will not be easy.
The Rising Influence of the Patients
As patients become more aware and educated about the drugs they take, Pharma companies are forced to consider a patient-first business model to cope with their dynamic expectations and demands. Companies are considering smartphone apps and online portals to stay connected with patients. With more sophisticated technological options being made available with every passing day, a range of health services can be offered to patients at their convenience. These tools also serve as a great way to acquire patient data, maintain them and gain useful insight.
However, replicating this approach in other geographies will need language support. App and Software localization requires deep understanding of cultural nuances in order to be executed successfully. Apart from this, promotional and informational collateral also need to be tailored and edited in order to appeal to consumers in various geographies. This not only includes physical collateral but also digital materials. Hence, as the focus shifts to the patient, there is certainly a rise in demand for language solutions expected from Pharma and Biotech companies.
Managing the Digital Baggage
While e-pharmacies are still in their infancy, there is enough reason to believe in their success in the near future. Globalization plans for e-pharmacies, is a long way away from being a topic of discussion. In the meanwhile, Pharma and Biotech companies still need to maintain their digital presence whose importance continues to grow in the grand scheme of things. This includes websites, social media positioning and online reputation management (ORM) among others. In recent times, we’ve received an increased demand for translation of marketing materials from companies like Abbott Healthcare and other Fortune 500 companies.
As pharma and biotech companies look to build their presence across different geographies, they will need to think about how they can take their digital assets along. Maintaining brand positioning and brand image across multiple regions is always going to be a challenge. Moreover, failure to understand cultural nuances and demand can be a cause for stunted growth. Companies that have the foresight to see the importance of a language solutions partner at this stage will have greater chances to succeed in new geographies.
About the Author
Shilpa Mittal, CEO of Ulatus, Ulatus is one of the world’s foremost language solutions providers. Shilpa is honored with the prestigious “Best Woman Entrepreneur 2017” award by Golden Bridge in San Francisco.S