Few industries offer the level of competition that one will find in pharmaceuticals. Every aspect of the industry presents barriers, pitfalls, traps, and roadblocks that can knock a business out of the game alt if it is not careful. It comes down to knowledge. The key to staying in competition in the pharmaceutical industry is to be aware of the wear the potential dangers lay and how to best avoid them when encountered. Some of these dangers are very specific to pharmaceutical companies, while others are general rules of thumb that could be applied to any business seeking success (are not they all?).
The first problems that must be overcome are the barriers to entry. There are wonderful financial and even legislative hurdles that must be welcome to be a successful pharmaceutical company. Starting with the financial roadblocks, production of pharmaceutical products is not easy or cheap. First, few industries require such a high level of research and development. The drugs have to be determined and developed. Patent law for pharmaceutical products can be tricky, but even generics require some level of deviation from the original. While it would seem to be just the first step in the process, this is the most important step. The success of a company extremely lies in the quality of the product that it produces. Successful businesses hire the best researchers available and give them the tools necessary to do the job.
Getting past the development stage is only the first part of the battle. After that, there are still legal issues that must be overcome. By nature, pharmaceuticals are some of the most regulated products available to consumers. Many even require a doctor's prescription for legal possession. As such, any product developed must go through the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), or similar agency for other countries, to be further tested before being made available for public consumption. Creating products that accomplish their goal, are safe for public use, and can get through federal oversight would seem to take a series of minor miracles. The best way to get through the red tape is to have a skilled legal / patent team that is familiar with the process. Experience is key when dealing with a bureaucracy.
However, even if you get beyond this step in the process, there is still a huge mountain to climb when it comes to production. High research and development costs dictate that products must be mass produced in order to draw any kind of profitability. But the equipment to manufacture these products is expensive. Many drug companies outsource, but this is an expensive procedure in its own right as you have to deal with laws for two different countries. A better way to be more cost effective is to buy used equipment at a discounted rate from a reliable name.
That covers most of the process from development to production. The final step is getting into pharmacies and prescriptions from doctors. This is often one of the shadier sides of medicines (pushed by drug reps), but is an unavailability necessity to getting a business' name out into the open. A recommendation here is to work any and all trade shows and events available. These are one of the few venues where potential clients will come to you.