Kronos Group

How pharma procurement consulting can boost compliance and reduce risks


The pharma procurement landscape in 2023 is influenced by a wide array of socio-economic conditions from the post-pandemic environment to climate change and geopolitical instability. This has created a highly volatile atmosphere that pharmaceutical companies need to navigate carefully in order to survive and thrive.

This new aggregation of risks faced by pharmaceutical companies has caused them to come up with measures that can address them effectively. As procurement is one of the most important aspects of pharmaceutical production, the role of pharma procurement consulting has become more pronounced in recent years.

However, as many options are available, pharmaceutical companies must also be aware of the considerations they should make when choosing a pharma procurement consultant to ensure they are the right fit for their operations.

The pharma procurement landscape in 2023

The pharma procurement landscape in 2023 faced a scope of challenges previously unheard of as the post-pandemic environment, climate change, and shifting geopolitical conditions continue to affect the market.

External challenges such as high inflation, regulatory compliance, and sustainability challenges paired up with supply chain issues like complex requirements, supply chain bottlenecks, and high cost and supply pressures mean pharma companies need to consistently apply mitigation strategies to manage these risks. In addition, talent recruitment and retention difficulties have also popped up, specifically in the American and European markets.

These challenges have culminated in the steady growth of pharma procurement consulting over the years. As risks in the pharmaceutical industry continue to evolve, this growth is projected to continue for the next five years.

Risks faced by pharmaceutical companies

The core issues faced by pharmaceutical companies today are:

  • Regulatory compliance

This is a vital factor in the survival of pharmaceutical companies as non-compliance is an extremely dangerous issue. Standards are set in place to protect consumers and ensure that the company’s operations are legally sound.

  • Recruitment and retention

In the American and European markets, in particular, the need for experienced and knowledgeable talent is at an all-time high. Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly relying on headhunters to source talent in these markets.

  • High inflation rates

Among numerous other effects, high inflation rates around the world have resulted in increased costs for core raw materials like aluminium, paper, and energy. This has affected raw material sourcing and company bottom lines. 

  • Cost and supply pressures

The pandemic exposed the multitude of supply bottlenecks that exist within the pharma supply chain. These issues paired with higher costs have resulted in increased pressure for pharma companies as demand continues to rise.

  • Complex supply chains

The pharma supply chain’s requirements are demanding and complex as products are often susceptible to environmental conditions. Establishing a reliable, controlled environment throughout the supply chain is a necessity.

  • Sustainability challenges

In addition to conventional sustainability measures such as waste reduction and transparency improvements, relatively new requirements like managing water and energy consumption and ensuring fair access must also be addressed.

Role of pharma procurement consulting

The role that pharma procurement consultancies have played in recent years to help pharma companies address these risks is substantial. Pharma procurement consulting helps companies identify gaps in the supply chain and address risks and compliance issues related to it.

Here is how procurement consulting can benefit pharma companies:

Addressing compliance issues

Regulations for pharma companies are quite strict and have gotten stricter over the years for sales and marketing, drug price reporting, patient privacy, clinical trials and operations, preclinical work and testing, and manufacturing. Pharma procurement consultants are up-to-date on these compliance requirements and will study company processes to pinpoint compliance issues and suggest solutions.

Addressing talent requirements

Pharma procurement consultancies also assist in sourcing the best talent that is required by companies regardless of the geographic landscape they operate in. They also help train existing staff with industry insights, theoretical and practical knowledge, and best practices. They can also help with procurement BPO initiatives in case talent sourcing is not practical in particular geographic locations.

Addressing cost and supply pressures

As cost and supply pressures continue to climb, the need for reliable and consistent suppliers grows with it. Furthermore, establishing a robust supply chain is vital for smooth business operations. Pharma procurement consulting helps companies identify their requirements, risks, and potential suppliers and form strategically beneficial partnerships with them for the benefit of the company. 

Addressing sustainability challenges

Current sustainability challenges for pharma include waste reduction, carbon and greenhouse gas emission reduction, pharma in the environment (PIE) reduction, energy and water consumption management, anti-corruption and transparency improvements, and fair access assurance. Pharma procurement consultants can help companies implement such sustainability measures with minimal effect on bottom lines.

Choosing a pharma procurement consultant

Pharma companies should take the following considerations into account when choosing a pharma procurement consultant.

  • They should have deep knowledge of the pharmaceutical industry
  • They should have extensive experience in pharma procurement
  • They should have in-house capabilities in design and architecture
  • They should adapt to the company’s operational framework
  • They should offer clear benchmarks for success
  • They should offer insights to boost compliance
  • They should offer extensive risk management capabilities

Enhance your procurement operations with a pharma procurement consultant

Pharma procurement consultancy will assist you in formulating an effective pharma procurement strategy that can help maintain drug costs, create better data management processes, reduce drug wastage, improve operational efficiency, and enhance the supply chain.

Julie Brand

A part of Kronos Group’s team since 2018, Julie is a leader who has honed her specialisation in business transformation and utilised her expansive financial expertise to power business strategy and add value to what we do. She has amassed experience (Pfizer, Sony, AXA, SMEC, Tradelink) all over the world in strategy, project management, analysis, and supply chain.