The pharmaceutical value chain is dependent on two major demand forecasts:
Just as the consumer drives the demand in any value chain, here the patient drives the ultimate demand. The patients can influence the providers to write a particular choice of a branded prescription based on their knowledge or based on the education from major marketing campaigns.
The patient and the provider jointly create the demand signal for the pharmacies to fill. So the prescriptions filled by the pharmacies act as the ultimate driver of the pharma demand. These could be some what influenced by marketing activities.
Demand lumpiness may occur due to pricing promotions and stocking by pharmaceutical wholesalers. Outside the US, this can also be caused major Government purchasers doing a contract buy.
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