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Thinking Allowed

ICT: What’s your general outlook on the pharmaceutical industry at the moment?

Rory O’Hare: The industry is going through a challenging yet exciting time. It’s facing increasing cost pressures, especially given the number of drugs that are going offpatent while R&D costs rise. The industry is also becoming more global, both in terms of sales and processes, with emerging markets evolving into important sources of new business. Regulatory requirements are a constant consideration for pharmaceutical companies, but recent trends have focused on transparency in payments to healthcare providers. Between the increasing cost pressures and a globalising, heavily regulated industry, the pressure to harmonise these processes worldwide is immense; companies are constantly assessing how to centralise their processes, reduce costs and increase efficiencies.

What are some of the key skills that make a research company stand out from the crowd?

A stand-out research company should have a truly innovative vision for clinical research that provides a tangible benefit for relevant stakeholders: sponsors, contract research organisations, sites and patients. It should be global in nature and responsive to changing industry and regulatory realities.

Describe your business philosophy in ten words.

Know your products, know your business environment, question established processes.

What are the current weaknesses of the global payment process?

Like many areas in the clinical trials industry, the global payment process has matured more slowly than the needs of the market. Payment systems have remained largely manual, fragmented and inefficient. With the increasing demands of global regulatory changes surrounding payment transparency, and the complexity of managing global tax requirements and currency risks, systems are simply not set up to handle the current realities and do not mitigate the risks adequately for sponsors. They are costly, and the lack of centralisation of financial data means sponsors have difficulty identifying trends or planning for future trials.

However, weaknesses in the global payment process extend beyond the direct effects on sponsors. Manual processes to pay sites are, by nature, slow and inaccurate, so managing fi nances at the clinical site level can be challenging. Payments to patients, which can be made directly from the sponsor or at the site level, are likewise often slow, manual and diffi cult to account for, which negatively affects patient retention and increases costs for sites.

And the major strengths?

Honestly, I can’t think of many strengths in the current global payment process. I believe the system’s major strength is in its potential. While global payments were previously only seen as a peripheral logistical process, there is increasing recognition of the tremendous potential to transform this process into a way to drive cost savings and strategic value. Instead of an ineffi cient manual process, companies are recognising the opportunity to address the inefficiencies and challenges head on. Given the industry’s current cost pressure and increasing attention on payments from the global regulatory push toward transparency, this is an important strategic consideration for clinical trials managers.

Finally, what is it that makes Greenphire different from other companies of its kind?

When making the decision to join Greenphire, I was particularly impressed by the management team’s unique combination of clinical trial and financial expertise. This is a powerful combination that has allowed it to develop an innovative suite of products and to be sensitive to industry needs while questioning its current processes. I was also impressed by the company’s global approach and capabilities, and its commitment to creating a truly international strategy. Lastly, our company culture emphasises innovation, trust and fun, and the management team is clearly committed to creating a positive environment for its team and investing in their growth and skills.


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Rory O’Hare recently joined Greenphire as Global Product Manager, responsible for developing global product requirements and supporting the company’s international growth. He has over 20 years of experience in IT analysis, design and implementation in the healthcare, technology and energy industries. Rory holds an MBA and a BSc in Computer Science.
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