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In 2012, Kodak the successful camera film company applied for protection from bankruptcy. It had been an industry leader, with 145,000 employees at its peak. It had created the first digital camera in the mid-1970s and later dropped development, fearing it would threaten its mainstay business. In the same year, Facebook was listed with a market value of $100 billion, equivalent to Sweden's annual budget.

Which pharmaceutical companies will be left in five years? Can digital technologies open up new revenue streams?

‘Pharma Industry’ magazine in Sweden recently published an article by Darek M. Haftor, Professor of Information Systems at Linnaeus University. In the article, Darek discusses the digital age and how the pharma industry can create value from apps developed for people with chronic conditions. 

Here’s an excerpt:

‘In 2015, there were around 160,000 health-related apps on the Apple App Store, but most of these are only ever used a few times. Could there be a hidden Facebook, Airbnb or Uber for the health sector? Or is the life science industry so distinct that it will not be affected by the digital revolution that has occurred in other industries?

Last year Pfizer released about 15 apps designed to complement the company’s products, ranging from haemophilia to kidney care. In January this year, Eli Lilly received approval from the FDA for the Go Dose app for diabetes care. The same month Novo Nordisk announced it had signed a cooperation agreement with Glooko on the development of a new digital diabetes service.

Some pharmaceutical companies establish dedicated departments for digital innovation, such as the LEO Innovation Lab in Copenhagen. These are just a few examples and you should ask: are these and similar initiatives important? How can we assess the business value of an individual digital initiative? Is there big economic value at stake?

To illustrate how digital technology can create economic value, we will look into the area of haemophilia first…’

Please click the button below to read the full article in Swedish, originally published on



Ashfield, Part of UDG Healthcare, is the leading outsourcing partner for sales, marketing and medical communications to the pharmaceutical and med tech industry in the Nordics.

Darek acts as Strategic Adviser and Programme Manager for Ashfield Nordic’s digital consulting service. For more information on this service, please contact Martin Lindgren on +46 (0)73-376 12 27 or


DAREK HAFTOR, Professor and Research Centre Director at Linnaeus University 

Darek Haftor is the co-founder and first Director of the Gunilla Bradley Centre for Digital Business. Darek is an expert in digital technology and business development, and regularly advises businesses and non-profit organisations. Haftor’s current research focuses on the success factors and challenges of digital businesses, and answers the underlying question of how economic value can be created through the use of digital technology.

Darek has broad experience in both the pharmaceutical industry and prestigious business schools.



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