With an accelerated interest for automation in the manufacturing space along with intensified domestic policies, the US pharmaceutical industry is rapidly evolving. According to reports by McKinsey and Pharma Manufacturing, pharmaceutical has been historically slower to implement automation and digitalisation compared to other manufacturing sectors. However, the new intensified ‘Buy American’ policies and the Covid-19 pandemic are expected to change – and accelerate – the adoption of robotics in the US pharmaceutical manufacturing sector.

DEMAND IN ROBOTICS BOOST PHARMACEUTICAL MANUFACTURING SECTOR 

Business conditions for US pharmaceutical manufacturers are changing rapidly by forces including intense global pricing pressures, highly vulnerable global supply chains, and increasing domestic protectionist policies. According to articles published by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institutes of Health, 新冠肺炎疫情加快了制造业回流美国的步伐, as the country’s vulnerability to supply chain fluctuations of generic drugs and medical supplies became particularly apparent during the pandemic. The heightening concern of US dependence on China for critical medical and pharmaceutical supplies pushed the Trump administration to introduce the executive order of 保护我们的药品供应链免受2020年中国法案的影响. This act mapped out reshoring initiatives to incentivise large American pharmaceutical companies to bring their production facilities closer to home (US. Congress S.3537). Together with other protectionist policies introduced and suggested by both Trump and Biden administrations, the effect on the domestic production of pharmaceutical drugs in the US in the long term is projected to be positive.

As American drug producers face accelerated pressure to increase productivity of their domestic manufacturing plants to compete with labour intensive markets, 行业机构预计对自动化和机器人解决方案的需求将会增加. According to Robotics Industries Association and ZMR, by 2026, the global pharmaceutical robotic market is expected to reach USD 200 million with an annualised growth rate of almost 13.2 percent, up from USD 93 million in 2019. The International Federation of Robotics (IFR) claims robotic installations in the US pharmaceutical sector increased by 11.4 percent between 2016 and 2018, while the trajectory of growth is set to accelerate in line with the growing concern of securing supply chains with an expected CAGR of 10 percent in the upcoming years. In 2020, life science was the sector showing the highest growth year-to-date in robotic sales order intake in North America, 根据机器人工业协会的数据,与2019年上半年相比增长了97%.

ENHANCED REGULATIONS REQUIRE SOLUTIONS FOR PICKING & PACKING

Within the pharmaceutical manufacturing value chain, 机器人技术最常用于产品提取和包装的最后步骤. North America, with the US as the dominating country, has the largest market for pharmaceutical packaging globally and forecast figures by Mordor Intelligence suggest sector is expected to grow with a CAGR of 8.3 percent until 2025. Based on a survey conducted by PMMI Business Intelligence, 美国约61%的制药商使用机器人进行包装, and both current and new users are scaling up the implementation of automation in picking and packaging processes. Swedish automation companies offering solutions for flexible configurations with high speed and accuracy could see this area as a particular potential for growth.

There is also a growing need for track and trace solutions as several new regulatory requirements come into force. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that all produced packages must be labelled with the exact mark approved by the pharmaceutical manufacturer, a process which will benefit from using robotics rather than being controlled by humans - which often is still the case. FDA的目标是到2023年在处方药生产中实现单位级可追溯性, implemented through the Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA). Investments in new equipment will help manufacturers adapt to the rules with integrated automation supporting efficiency while maintaining compliance.

SWEDISH COMPANIES NEED TO LOCALISE AND STRATEGISE

For Swedish companies looking to compete with domestic players and grow their footprint in the US pharmaceutical manufacturing sector, a local presence will be critical to meet increased requirements on domestic content while also respond to the mounting pressure to re-shore pharmaceutical manufacturing. Biden’s Buy American Act 是否会收紧对美国产品的国内含量和采购流程的规定, services, supply chains, and the transportation of goods. Navigating key issues impacting pharmaceutical supply chains, operations and customer landscape is important to create a more resilient and competitive position in the US.

Contact our team if you want to learn more about opportunities in the US industrial sector and how to navigate the new business landscape.