NO way back

Our lead pharma and biotech writer asks:

Where next for pharma, biotech and life sciences communications professionals?

The pharmaceutical, BioTech and life sciences industries have achieved breathtaking success over the last two years, most notably by developing, testing, and distributing COVID-19 vaccines within a year of the pandemic declaration, as well as supporting mass testing on an unparalleled scale.

Necessity, the well-known mother of invention, has driven progress and change at a phenomenal rate. These sectors have overcome commercial rivalries, developed partnerships, accelerated development programmes, and navigated the regulatory climate more efficiently to bring products and therapies to market faster than ever before.

So amongst the very real healthcare challenges posed by the pandemic, huge advances have been made in terms of joint working and collaboration across the healthcare ecosystem.

Working within this new paradigm presents industry communication professionals with new challenges, built around around five distinct trends.

Getting ahead of them will be key to success.

1. Partnerships are here to stay 

What does the alignment of different organisations with different purposes mean for communications professionals more used to owning and controlling their messages?

  • Embrace joined-up working across communications teams.
  • Ensure there is greater consistency in approach and messaging.

2. Demonstrating innovation is vital

The public at large has become more medically and scientifically literate as a result of Covid, but how do communications professionals take HCPs and patients with them as they introduce ground-breaking therapies and technologies?

  • Focus on the benefits to clinicians and patients.
  • Be open and transparent around development, aims, and objectives.

3. Vaccination presents unique communications challenges

How do professionals manage communications around vaccines in the light of intense public scrutiny and national expectations around delivery?

  • Be transparent: sharing data does not equate to public advertising under the ABPI code of practice.
  • Get on the front foot: shout about success – don’t just respond to crises.

4. Speedy product development demands new approaches

Faster development speed will spur commercial activity, forcing firms to speed up product launch and the tactical marketing. How do they manage this?

  • Understand the unmet needs of patient populations to guide marketing strategies that embrace digital channels.
  • Work with the wider disease area community, patients, HCPS and advocates to understand barriers to market.

5. Managing logistics blockages is key

How can professionals manage materials shortages that present unique communications challenges that harm reputations and hit share prices?

  • Provide better communications support in the boardroom where these issues are addressed.
  • Be clear and consistent in your messaging, and provide senior representatives for interviews as well as statements.

Download ‘No way back‘, our guide to the trends that are transforming pharma, biotech and the life sciences, and find out what this revolution means for communications professionals.


The Henley Group is a B2B communciations agency, based in Henley-on-Thames, UK. We specialise in public relations, content marketing, corporate communications and strategic consulting for clients in the UK and overseas. We advise, plan, produce and deliver engaging communication programmes for clients across a range of B2B sectors.