It has been a big year in the life science market: we have seen more consumer facing tools (e.g. wearable technologies) and a lot of innovation in the sector.

But what will the new year hold for us? Here are my top 3 predictions for 2016.

Time of Wearable Tech & IoT

The use of sensors that monitor the individual vital signs and other health indicators seem to be a trend stronger than ever. The great majority of stakeholder are either already marketing or developing brand new wearable technologies or IoT devices capable of registering a number of health data, monitor health conditions and trigger actions. It is hard to think that this tendency will not continue in 2016.

We will have to see how regulators will deal with these innovations, but no doubt that something is going to change soon (for instance, as already discussed by Giulio here, an Internet of Things plan – probably including also wearable techs regulations – will be issued by the European Commission by mid-2016, but also Italy is bringing forward IoT initiatives).

Health data is a resource but leads to privacy risks that cannot be overlooked anymore

Privacy will play an important role in any future life science development. In fact, as mentioned above, we will face an increase number of processing relating to digital health data (collected, for instance, by way of patients’ remote monitoring systems and/or telemedicine devices).

The privacy and security by design approach provided by the upcoming EU privacy regulation (recently approved, see here), but already requested by data protection regulators such as the Italian privacy authority and the upcoming large fines for data breaches will lead to a massive change by life science companies and their providers on privacy compliance.

E-pharmacies will become a reality

2015 was the year during which Italy authorized the online sale of over-the-counter drugs (see post here). However a part of the puzzle was still missing: the Ministry of Health was requested to issue a decree identifying the so called “common logo“, i.e. a logo allowing consumers to easily identify authorized online pharmacies and approved retailers providing authentic medicines.

2016 is likely to be the year when bureaucratic steps will be overcome and a complete new market will be set up in a country that has been historically very conservative on the matter.

Let me know if you want to discuss the above (also to discuss how the above predictions play out in 2016), in the meanwhile, happy new year!