International terrorist threat? "Bah, humbug," said the investor crowd that attended CIBC World Markets' 12th annual healthcare conference showcasing 250 healthcare companies. For three days, Wall Streeters hobnobbed with industry's finest, learned about companies' pipelines, and discussed emerging trends.
Despite the financial focus, big pharma emphasized that marketing initiatives will make or break companies in 2002. Gino Santini, president of US operations at Eli Lilly, said the company would "leave the Prozac era behind," doubling 1999 sales and marketing budgets by 2003. Much of that money will be spent on Lilly's 5,000 new sales reps and early launch preparations for the osteoporosis treatment Forteo (teriparatide) and erectile dysfunction therapy Cialis (tadalafil).
Allscripts and other technology companies countered that the biggest marketing change underway results from the Institute of Medicine report on patient safety, which will force physicians to access drug-interaction and formulary information before making decisions instead of afterward. They say that when more physicians go "paperless" and begin using handheld devices, themedical community will be more receptive to marketing initiatives from pharma companies' and pharmacy benefit managers.