Big Pharma

Big Pharma

106 ratings
Big Pharma General Tips and Tricks
By OrioN
A general [WIP] guide on the dos and don'ts of Big Pharma as well as some tactical guidance
This guide is about the basics for successfully completing scenarios in Big Pharma.
It's not about being step-by-step but rather meant to give you the tools you need in order to adapt to different situations.
Starting out
There are a few things you'll want to do at the start in order to help you get on the right track:
  • If your starters really suck, just restart and see if you get something better
  • Pause the game so you have time once the level loads to figure stuff out without the AI getting ahead of you.
  • Check the cures tab. The ones where you are shown an upgrade are representing the ingredients you have. See what you need to get them to level 2.
  • If there's a tier 1 machine required for the upgrade, go for that pretty much as the first product. If not, hire 1 scientist and start research on the required machine (for example, if both require an ioniser. if they have different requirements you'll need to see which one is probably more profitable based on processing cos, demand and difficulty to create).
  • See which ingredient can be easily either put to level 2 or activate it's effects. You'll always either need one or two machines to get the effect activated. Needing only one increases profit.
  • Buy more space. At this point, more doors is much better than lots of space since the builds will be pretty small unless you can already achieve a level 2 cure.
  • Check the ingredients to see which 1-explorer ingredient gives you the best profitability (reference: cures screen), hire an explorer and send him out. Hint: S. health and pain almost always get you decent profits.
  • Ignore side-effects at this stage of the game. If your ingredients don't have side-effects where the easiest activation point is, all the better. But don't chase the side-effect free cure, you'll lose money.
  • Build as many production lines as you can afford.
  • Unpause the game and see how it goes.
General progression
After the start is set up, you'll need to make sure you keep going:
  • Use ingredient upgrades on a) expensive materials you use and/or b) materials you use a lot
  • Use research upgrades early on for machines you have a lot of. If your production line has 7 dissolvers, a single upgrade point increases profits by 7$.
  • Creamers are amazing to get good drug ratings without having to remove side-effects.
  • Drug packers are great since they allow you to export the drugs from 2 or 3 (depending on upgrades) production lines through a single door.
  • Take the loan with the lowest daily payment. It will be easier to reach the money required to pay it back early.
  • Don't double down on loans. The daily payback is usually way too big. If you make enough money to actually cover that, you don't really need the loan.
  • When taking a loan, spend all of the money you got. And spend it on stuff that will increase your income (scientists for more research points, new spaces, new production lines).
  • Two valid tactics for better loans:
    • If you have 60k left to pay with ~150$ daily payment and a 75k loan is available with a ~100$ daily payment, take the loan and pay back the old one.
    • If all 3 loans have really high daily rates and you don't really need one right now, pause the game, take all of them and pay them back instantly. You don't lose a single dollar and can wait for better loans.
Target hunting
Unless you are doing a free-build, you'll have an objective. Focus on that objective, just randomly playing along makes it hard to reach your goal:

Here are some general guidelines for different scenarios that you'll encounter in the lower difficulty:

Earn a total revenue of x
The game is asking for revenue, nothing else. You can ignore profitability as long as you can keep yourself afloat money-wise. Pretty much produce and sell the highest value cures you can.

Attain operating profit of x over a 12 month period
Basically the opposite of the revenue one. What you want is the big gains. A drug that sells for 210$ and costs you 100$ to make is better than one that sells for 650$ and costs you 580$ to make. Note that operating profit is affected by ingredient prices and processing cost. Salary for your explorers and scientists doesn't matter.

Supply x cure treatments
Fairly simple, just sell the specified amount of drugs which have the mentioned effect active. Side-effects and drug quality can be ignored.

Supply x successful cure treatments
Again, pretty much the opposite of the last one. Successful treatments means people treated/cured. So you'll want to hit the sweet spot on the cure and ideally sell syringes because they boost the effectiveness. Blatant disregard of processing cost is your friend here. If need be, take all 3 loans, set up your production lines and wait until it's over.
Getting better results
Depending on the objective, you'll need to focus on different goals. If your goal is profitability, optimising your cure for best effectiveness can be good or bad. You'll spend more on processing but might get a better drug rating, raising the price.

This is the point where there's no general rule. It depends on your ingredients, the market, the competition and your upgrades. You'll have to experiment here. One thing that really helps with that is of course the analyzer. However, if you don't use it correctly you can pour some serious cash down the drain. For example:
Say you want to find the sweet spot for Reduces Stroke Risk, but still have 3 side-effects on the product which you haven't analyzed before. If you just start analyzing it you might spend all the processing cost to get to Reduces Stroke Risk many times just to get the peak concentration of a side-effect. So it's better to analyze the side-effects directly from the base ingredient first and then start analyzing the desired cure, since there will only be one effect left to analyze.
The next important thing is delivery method. As a rule of thumb I'd say:
  • Pills are usually your number one choice since you already have access to them from the get-go and they generate additional product value.
  • Creams are great for cures where you can't get rid of all the side-effects.
  • Syringes can really boost your drug rating since they increase the effectiveness. But never use them on drugs which contain side-effects, it will not be pretty.
  • Satchets are a great choice if your finished product has two or more active cures, since it gives you bonus value.
The evil competition and patents
Your competition is a threat. They always are. If you have a product that sells well and your competitors enter the market, your prices and therefore your profits go down.
Another problem might be them patenting one of the products you're selling. This could well be a devastating blow to your income. This is one of the reasons many people don't like the patent system.

However, there are some solutions for this issue:
  • Research patents early, so you can defend against the AI
  • Get 12 month patents. They are enough to prevent against enemy patenting and only take 3 months to draft. This reduces the chance of the AI finishing it quicker than you.

You can also use the patents more offensively. If for example you have a pill that treats angina which is your cash cow with 90 pills sold per month. Great stuff.
Now two competitors start releasing the same cream that treats angina. Over time, this will drive prices down so much that your profits are almost nowhere to be found. So you use the patent system to drive them out of the market. Replace the pill printers on one production line with a creamer, sell at least one cream and start drafting the patent on this new cure. You can then revert to your old production while the patent drafting continues. Once the patent is complete, this will pretty much drive the competition out of the market.
If your drug is important to your cashflow it can even be worth it to match the AIs side-effects so you can destroy their product to keep the cure market for yourself.
[coming soon]
More coming soon, I just have to find time to write it down.
Feedback is obviously appreciated.
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Adekyn Apr 18, 2020 @ 10:16am 
Sound advice here. Thanks.
GODDracolich Feb 9, 2018 @ 4:00am 
jztemple Apr 14, 2016 @ 1:58pm 
Thanks for posting this, I learned quite a bit.
Liobuster Feb 13, 2016 @ 5:04pm 
@ no genius: Yes it does. Though of course that is much more expensive, than scanning Raw Ingredients
John Feb 10, 2016 @ 5:42pm 
Does the analyser actually do anything for upgraded treatments? Otherwise, how do you find out the max effectiveness?
Culthrasa Nov 9, 2015 @ 1:02pm 
@lebombardier... played a fair lot... seems like te side effects are (kinda) random.. so no straight path to a cure. every level is different (seems to stay the same per level though.. so save cumming does work if your into that :))
@OP.. cheers for the guide.. point about patent is really true (just found out the hard way!)
OrioN  [author] Sep 6, 2015 @ 1:56pm 
@Gamefury64 There's two things with that.
One: if you have a cream with 2 side-effects and it gets patented, switching to any other delivery method will sink your profits into the abyss due to low rating.
Two: Market domination is worth more than you spend on the patent. This is a big one. Say you're selling 90 female contraceptives a month, getting a market saturation of 90%. Two AIs budge in with 60 each. Market saturation goes up to 210%, prices drop like crazy. If you're selling 90 a month and you evaluate a 12 month patent (20k$), it's worth it if your drug value drops by even just 19+$ due to saturation (19$ on 90/month for 12 months = 20520$, already more than you spent on the patent).
zshD Sep 6, 2015 @ 1:43pm 
I personally don't think patents are worth it in the long run. They cost a larget amount of money to make, and take time, and then, it only covers that kind of drug: If someone patents a pill, make creams.
OrioN  [author] Sep 6, 2015 @ 3:32am 
@LeBombardier: Well, there really isn't a "perfect build" per drug. Because the perfect build depends on so many things, like available space, door positions, your upgrades... Also, since the ingredients are somewhat random when it comes to side-effect/catalyst combinations,there isn't really the solution.
LeBombardier Sep 5, 2015 @ 5:34pm 
Would be good to know your 'perfect builds' for each drug... I'm waiting for that kinda guide :)