Interview with Nicolas Artelluci, account manager at Cognizant and lecturer in the Master Advanced Pharmaceutical Engineering (AdPharming) in IMT Mines Albi.
Can you tell me about the French pharmaceutical market today and any recent key evolutions?
The French pharmaceutical market is very specific compared to other markets around the world and it is a very sustainable market with a 60 billion euro footprint a year. Exports account for half of the latter, along with 8 billion euros a year for hospitals. A key aspect is that it has been growing nearly continuously, and is really sustainable on the long term. To a certain extent this is partly related to the fact that it is a regulated market. This means that every decision and every action, from both a purely commercial perspective and research perspective, is guided by a global framework supported by the law. And this makes things sustainable in the long term. While this characteristic could be viewed as less flexible (compared to the US pharma market for example), I believe it makes the market stronger and more resistant to any crisis. As we are on a regulated market, in a sense you will always find buyers.
What is Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)?
BPO is when you outsource a complete business process embedding various related activities - best examples being Regulatory Affairs or Pharmacovigilance which can be supported or operated by an outsourcer or service provider under a Pharma’s responsibility.
Today around 100,000 people are directly employed by pharmaceutical companies in France. What are the job opportunities and is there demand for new emerging skills?
There are a lot of opportunities for extremely diverse jobs. The full pharmaceutical process is very broad. If you look at the pre to post-market authorization activities, the spectrum is very wide from R&D to commercialization and including supply chain and IT, with many different roles and positions to fill. The emerging skills in the pharma market such as AI or data science are exactly the same as the sought-after skills we see emerging in other industries.
What lessons can be learned from the Covid Crisis for the pharmaceutical industry ?
With regard to the Covid crisis, the pharma industry has once again shown its sustainability faced with a crisis, and they are meeting the challenges. One proof of their strength is the fact they came back with commercialization of the vaccines very quickly. Indeed, there is a big difference between having a drug in a lab and getting the drug authorized, sold, produced and delivered. This is where their strength lies.
What in your opinion are the key challenges facing the French pharmaceutical industry today?
Attracting new skills is a big issue. Based on my experience as a pharma service provider it was quite difficult to get new people on a large scale. When you are looking for pharmacists or doctors, those profiles often prefer to work on their own, while IT people don’t typically think about working in the pharma market. One of the key challenges then is to attract top, IT-astute, key skills to ensure that there will be enough highly educated professionals to meet the needs of this industry.
What advice would you give a student considering a career in the pharmaceutical industry ?
Firstly, I would say that I think it is a very good choice to be interested in the pharma industry as it is a large, sustainable market offering a very wide range of different jobs. You will never be bored or stuck in one position. It is a very agile market with a lot of activities, engineering and ideas being brought to the table and this is because there is enough value from that sustainable market. So sustainable does not in any way mean boring but actually means that it is a very exciting industry to work in!
Nicolas Artelluci has worked for ten years in the pharmaceutical industry in many different roles including delivery director, sales and pre-sales, among others. Today, he is an account manager at Cognizant and intervenes in the Advanced Pharmaceutical Engineering Master (AdPharming).