Mentions of digitalisation within the filings of companies in the pharmaceutical industry fell 29% between the second and third quarters of 2021.
In total, the frequency of sentences related to “digitalization” between October 2020 and September 2021 was 524% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.
When pharmaceutical companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Digitalisation is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.
To assess whether digitalisation is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of pharmaceutical companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned digitalisation at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 61% compared to 21% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to digitalisation.
Of the 40 biggest employers in the pharmaceutical industry, Cadila Healthcare referred to digitalisation the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 114 digitalisation-related sentences in the India-based company's filings - 7.8% of all sentences. Cipla mentioned digitalisation the second most - the issue was referred to in 1.1% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high digitalisation mentions included Novartis, Bayer, and Sanofi.
Across all pharmaceutical companies the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on digitalisation came from Santen Pharmaceutical. Of the document's 1,006 sentences, 23 (2.3%) referred to digitalisation.
This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on digitalisation and how important the issue is considered within the pharmaceutical industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning digitalisation more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into digitalisation have been successes or failures.
In the last quarter, pharmaceutical companies based in Asia were most likely to mention digitalisation with 0.34% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in the United States mentioned digitalisation in just 0.05% of sentences.