Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What Do Pharma Execs Think?

Sorry to bore you with yet another tip of the hat to my esteemed colleague Roy Poses over at the Health Care Renewal blog, but I owe it to him that I am aware of this web page:

So-- how does see the world today? One thing I find intriguing is that we pharmascold types think of the drug industry as this huge, powerful juggernaut--as pointed out by Marcia Angell, if we go back to the olden days of 2002, even though major drug firms made up only 2% of the Fortune 500 companies, their total profits were more than half of the total profits of all 500 firms. Yet whenever we get to look through the keyhole at what Pharma execs think is going on, they see themselves as being beleaguered by all sorts of forces out to get them, and the survival of their companies from one year to the next has to be regarded as near-miraculous.

Here's how the post starts: "The consensus is that 2011 will be a bad year for Big Pharma. It must confront a breaking wave of patent expirations, while fiscal retrenchment has created an innovation cycle in reverse as payers find new ways to curb the drugs bill. Risk-averse regulators are transforming old tools like the FDA “complete response letter” into a registration parking lot, with no exit ramp to connect companies to a distracted — and increasingly impatient — community of clinicians and consumers."

Let's make a short list.
  • We say: Even in European countries with price controls, that pay only about two-thirds of what the US pays for drugs, companies make plenty of profit to support R&D; and there's no serious drug cost containment on the horizon in the US. They say: Today, no country feels that it ought to have to pay for drug R&D, so the industry will soon find its research funds drying up.
  • We say: It's a great step forward when resource-poor countries can negotiate a deal with a multinational drug firm for manufacturing of the drug to occur in a local factory, assuring both a more affordable drug for the local population plus jobs for the local economy. They say: That emerging-nation firm that they've been forced to work with is a potential future competitor, and they've been forced to grant that competitor substantial inside know-how in drug manufacturing--what amounts to the theft of intellectual property.
I could add more, but you get the drift.

Yet it would be terribly short-sighted to dismiss this inside view as mere victimhood wailing. Here and there the post gives a little bit of evidence that even the suits now realize that all is not right with how they do business.
  • On the incredible amount ($10-14B, depending on who you ask) that Pharma has paid out recently in criminal settlements: "Despite this, pharma has failed to address the problem from an industry-wide reputational, as opposed to a legal, standpoint. ”Tops in Fraud” is a ruinous moniker for a business so dependent on basic issues of trust like integrity, quality and safety – when will the industry, as part of a collective action, replace the gamey politicking with good policing?"
  • On the relentless outsourcing of research to cut costs and avoid ethical scrutiny: "The traditional business model of Big Pharma — with its heavy investment in in-house innovation – is being reconsidered through new approaches that emphasize the outsourcing of R&D: from research to “search,” with the latter linked to external licensing and partnering. Taken to its logical extent, the new model could transform companies from innovators to distribution platforms that rely on marketing heft, size and scale to compete rather than science. Coupled with the ruthless drive for efficiencies that have led to large-scale layoffs of once cosseted professional staff, the trend raises an important reputational question: if the industry is no longer viewed as a wellspring of science and innovation, what strategy is in play to respond to a world that perceives industry as the WalMart of pills?"
  • On take-no-prisoners marketing battles: "Stiff competition within therapeutic classes has created unheard of rivalries among companies that once were happy to share the same watering hole. Some marketers are investing millions in brand-bashing “anti-launch” strategies to limit the uptake of newer alternative products. The question is whether everyone loses when this logic is applied against the larger patient-first perspective that regulators and the public expect from the industry."
How refreshing--somebody in Pharma, at least within the confines of this post, feels that one's integrity and reputation are important. Now--when will all of our colleagues in medicine start to think likewise?


Unknown said...

I am unaware of of any organization of any kind, in which individual members are held occountable.

Pharma, psychiatry, attorneys, and the psychiatric enforcers: the Courts and Law Enforcement are all working in cooperatively to medicate by court order thousands. I am no data other than 700 in a year in the county I live in.

The reality is a "doctor" psychiatrist who prescribes what is known to be a fatal combintion of psychotropics, after the patient dies still can remain doctor. Biederman is AN ADVISORY BOARD member for CABF?!

Arrorneys both prosecutors and defense attorneys, do not seem to realize that Rules of Evidence, and Procedural Due Process are a universal standards,well they're supposed to be.. Even if the accused is "mentally ill." Have in fact, prosecuted with perjurous testomony which is not even questioned by defense counsel; validated. The accused "mentally ill" are not defended.

What is strangest to me however, Advocacy groups are fighting for court ordered treatment! But then it is probably due to the loyalty to those who pay for the them to have anosognosia. Which prevents them from letting the dogs of advocacy bite the hand the fuels their advocacy. So medicate any and emotion or behavior causing distress. Jusr remember, it doesn't have to be the patient who is distressed.

I, for one, would feel better about humanity were Advocacy groups to stop their efforts to medicate countless chidren with the "new improved" antipsychotics. If they are the best and so safe and effective; why is my son been cognitvely impaired, have tachychardia, and obese from their use,

It may because he was given ALL of them. Psychiatry is NOT practicing medicine and how can a doctor prescribe them to chidren?! I bet few would, if not for the FRAUD committed by psychiatry first, and always.

I think they should be called neuroleptics, meaning roughly, "nerve paralizer." This name change was no doubt a pharmceutical marketing strategy.

Willow said...

Hi Becky Murphy

I am filled with sympathy for you and concern about the harm done to your son as a result of taking prescribed pharmaceuticals. I too have been greatly harmed by prescription drugs. I can offer you helpful information and advice about the drug-induced obesity. - It is caused by the side-effect called sodium retention, and it means that eating sodium/salt increases blood pressure and increases weight by means of fluid retention.

If your son seriously reduces the amount of salt and salty food he eats he will lose weight quickly, effectively and safely.

There are many drugs that have this effect of massive fluid retention/weight gain. I have a well-respected website about the problem. I started it to prevent/reduce unnecessary suffering. My website is and particular pages that will interest you are and and
The website does not sell or advertise anything. It is purely to save people from avoidable suffering and to draw attention to the harm done by prescription drugs and misinformation.

Best wishes to you and your son.