Tony Fisher

By Tony Fisher, senior vice president of consumer solutions, RedBrick Health

Pharmaceutical companies spend years focusing their innovation on creating the right molecule to help treat a condition or disease. If they are first to market, they enjoy a period of exclusivity; but then generics take over, drive down the price and commoditize the market. Innovating beyond the pill is something big pharma has been trying to do for years to fight commoditization. They’ve turned to innovation as a way to differentiate their product—so much so that the phrase “beyond the pill” has become a moniker in the industry.1

There are a few good examples of innovation that moves beyond the pill: Gilead combining its HIV medications for a first-ever, once-daily, multi-dose solution; Schering-Plough (now Merck) creating a network of clinics to support Remicade; and GlaxoSmithKline’s unique delivery device for Advair.2 These companies have shown that if you can innovate beyond the pill, you can create real market differentiation in a commoditized industry.

But innovation has taken an interesting turn. In my recent conversations with leading pharma companies, I was amazed to hear that many of them are focused on condition prevention in addition to condition treatment. It seems counterintuitive—wouldn’t preventing the condition or disease put a significant dent in revenue and profit?

Apparently not. The reality is there will be more than enough individuals with chronic conditions to drive the revenue and profit of leading pharma companies for decades to come. In the U.S., it’s projected that the prevalence of diabetes will increase 64% between 2010 and 2025,3 and 40.5% of the population will have some form of cardiovascular disease by 2030.4

At RedBrick, we’ve seen that engaging in healthy behaviors can help people to manage or prevent chronic conditions—and it can help to deliver the clinically meaningful results that can lower healthcare costs. We’re working with leading pharmaceutical companies to take condition management beyond the pill: to engage people in healthy habits that drive behavior change and healthy outcomes. It’s in everyone’s best interest.



Stan Bernard, MD. Winning Beyond the Molecule. April 1, 2011. [Online].

Jason Bloomberg, Digital Transformation Moves Pharma ‘Beyond the Pill’. Forbes. August 15, 2014. [Online].

William R. Rowley and Clement Bezold. Population Health Management. August 2012, 15(4): 194-200. doi:10.1089/pop.2011.0053.

American Heart Association. Forecasting the Future of Cardiovascular Disease in the United States. [Online]. 2015.]