Outsourcing Medical Writing to India and other low cost regions ? Insights and Strategies for improving quality and cost benefits


By: Harish Kuppam -- Senior Research Analyst

27 March, 2014

Outsourcing Medical Writing to India and other low cost regions ? Insights and Strategies for improving quality and cost benefits

The market for medical writing was estimated to be around $1.3 billion in 2013 and is expected to grow at a significant rate of 15% CAGR. Substantial change in the delivery of medical writing services over recent years has led to a greater volume being commissioned in India than in the USA and Europe. The key driver for this is the drive to access low cost supplier. However, a significant amount of writing still goes on in the high cost markets of the USA and Europe. A number of major pharmaceutical companies and large service providers have created resources in India to deliver medical writing services. Nevertheless, the opportunity for pharmaceutical companies to realize further significant savings from an evolving outsource market remains. Problem Statement Cultural and linguistic differences persist, as the buyers, usually pharmaceutical companies, and the supply partners are geographically located in different parts of the world. This can lead to tedious and expensive reviews of draft copies which inevitably lead to delays and can significantly increase the cost of a project. This type of experience can lead the buyer to the conclusion that the outsourcing of writing to low cost regions, such as India, is operationally unattractive. However, these issues are not complex and relatively easy to deal with and can be addressed by both the buyer and supplier in collaboration. An important consequence will be a significant improvement in efficiency and quality. Historically, the fragmented nature of the supplier base may have presented difficulties too, such as lack of depth in skills and lack of breadth in therapeutic knowledge. This presented a barrier to a broad collaboration. Today, this position is changing, with a small and growing number of suppliers offering an outsource service that more adequately addresses the needs of the buyer. This paper will propose solutions and illustrate existing best practice and provide templates and strategies that will allow future operations to rapidly develop a high quality with nominal cost operation in India. These strategies will certainly be appropriate for use in other low cost countries where education and language training are conducive to high quality medical writing.


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