Thursday, October 01, 2009

Goodbye Empty Promises, Hello Self-Awareness

In case you hadn't already noticed, we drew together some of the industry's most senior, and influential, executives at our Pharmaceutical Strategic Alliances meeting last week in New York. Here's a selection of their most memorable quotes--the ones we think speak volumes about the industry and how it's changing.

1. "I'll look down the back of a sofa for a good medicine. In my darker moments, I've tried it,"--Martin Mackay, R&D chief at Pfizer. Read: not-invented-here at Pfizer is history. Really.

2. "The last thing you can accuse this industry of is being productive,"--Thomas Hofstaetter, SVP, Corporate Business Development, Wyeth. Read: we acknowledge reality nowadays.

3. "We lost our way, as an industry...we have to have patient needs upfront,"--Elliott Sigal, CSO, Bristol-Myers Squibb. Read: as above, & we're no longer complacent

4. "We need to sweat more,"--Moncef Slaoui, Chairman, R&D, GSK. Read: as above

5. "It's possible that we'll terminate a DPU (drug performance unit); we've already given signals to three of them that they're not doing so great,"--Slaoui again. Read: our effort to re-create a biotech-like risk-reward climate in R&D isn't just talk; we will slash 'em if they fail. (But not before the end of the three-year investment cycle.)

6. "Earlier this year, we terminated two Phase III programs because of pharmaco-economics. They were safe and effective compounds,"--Martin Mackay, R&D chief at Pfizer. Read: yes, we do (at last) realize that reimbursability is the new proof-of-concept.

7. "In the US, we're so far from being able to talk about 'cost-effectiveness'. Congress won’t even use ‘comparative effectiveness’ (…) the fear that [UK cost-effectiveness watchdog] NICE brings to the US is such that US advocates of comparative effectiveness research have to stress it’s ‘not like NICE’,"--Ian Spatz, former VP Global Health Policy at Merck. Read: many in the US have their heads in the sand when it comes to figuring out how to pay for health care.

8. "There isn't really a fixed cost-per-QALY threshold; advisory committees aren’t told not to go beyond £30,000-per-QALY,"--Andrew Dillon, CEO, NICE. Read: don't be scared, Americans. There's room for maneuver when it comes to getting your drugs past us. (Paying for advice ahead of time helps.)

9. "We just forecast how much we'll need the following year, and request the money from our CFO's office,"--Asish Xavier, VP, Venture Investments, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation. Read: if you're a private biotech working in one of J&J's areas, you're in luck.

Our summary (of 1-6, anyway): Goodbye empty promises, hello self-awareness.

image by flickrer m kasahara used under a creative commons license


Ol Cranky said...

If you expect any positive or productive change due to that sort of self awareness coupled with the actions currently being taken by big Pharma to improve the industry you're as deluded. That's like me saying I know I'm fat because I overeat and don't exercise and then implying I can lose weight by eating a dozen doughnuts.

Chris Morrison said...

wait. what kind of doughnuts?

Ol Cranky said...

ones laced with orlistat (of course)

Lynne said...

What can I say? What a great post...

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