The Healthcare BPO market is a very large and complex service based industry. This market is comprised of the payer, provider, and pharmaceutical outsourcing markets. It is relatively young and with a very low level of consolidation. This market is a highly fragmented and has numerous small-sized players operating in niche service segments. Cost reduction and lack of expertise in non-core business functions have made Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) an important service offering in the healthcare industry. Rapid growth in the global healthcare industry has fuelled the growth of the healthcare BPO market as well. The market has evolved and multiple service offerings have emerged to meet the needs of the healthcare industry.
Outsourcing is a recent development in the pharmaceutical industry. Outsourcing in the pharmaceutical industry started with the outsourcing of non-core administrative function, IT support, HR and sales support services. However, the scope of pharmaceutical outsourcing later expanded to core functions like R&D and clinical trials outsourcing. Pharmaceutical outsourcing is now one of the major segments of the healthcare BPO market. Pharmaceutical companies are widely adopting outsourcing as a strategy by making use of the expertise of their partners in clinical research, manufacturing, and other non-clinical services. Currently, the pharmaceutical outsourcing market is primarily driven by need to save costs, increasing cost of research and development, low productivity, high cost of product approval and weak product pipelines. Furthermore, the looming patent cliff in this industry, with a large number of star-performing drugs going off-patent, has increased the research and development activities in the pharmaceutical industry. As such, a large number of pharmaceutical companies are focusing on outsourcing their research requirements, and contract research is emerging as an important service offering in the pharmaceutical industry.
Rising costs of research and development and decreasing productivity of research activities are significant challenges in the global pharmaceutical market. Global R&D spend has gone up from $35 billion in 2002 to $100 billion in 2012, but the number of new drugs has remained relatively unchanged. In 1999, 35 New Molecular Entities (NMEs) received FDA approval, while in 2012; the number of approved NMEs was 39. Companies are seeking more efficient and cost-effective ways to conduct R&D or manufacturing or both. Outsourcing these jobs to CROs and/or CMOs aid them to make a quick turnaround and at the same time concentrate on their core competencies to increase their productivity and efficiency. Outsourcing achieves cost savings of about one-third for manufacturing and two-third for R&D of the total expenses.