Pharma Confidential

Jan 01, 2009

In these tough times, how does pharma see its future? How confident are top executives in the future of the industry and their own company? Does size make a difference? These were among the questions TGaS Advisors asked 20 operations executives from a cross-section of large, mid-tier, and specialty companies for its annual State of Commercial Operations benchmark conducted late last year.

Asked how confident they feel about the next three years, the execs responded based on their career experience (most are 25-year veterans) and their five to 10 years as decision makers.



The results? We found a divergence of confidence based on size, with large-tier companies (3,000-plus sales force) more confident about both the industry and their own firm than mid-tier (500 to 3,000) and specialty pharmas. Overall industry and company confidence, however, is down, primarily due to darker forecasts at the mid-tiers. With confidence charted on a 100-point scale (100 is "extremely optimistic"), company confidence falls in the 65 to 75 spread, while the industry confidence range was 52 to 66. (For more highlights, go to http://www.tgas.com/.)

Last year's results were the reverse. Large pharmas were more pessimistic about their own company than about the industry, while mid-tiers were far more hopeful, ranking their firms 17 points above the benchmark. What changed? Has Big Pharma confidence turned the corner after several storm-tossed years? One executive told us, "Industry has ripped off the Band-Aid and felt the pain." Companies looked at their commercial organizations and made the necessary cuts. Mid-tiers, with fewer resources, are now feeling the pain. Specialty pharmas are still markedly more confident than the industry overall, but even they show less confidence than last year (down 9 points).

Stephen E. Gerard is founder and managing partner of TgAS Advisors. He can be reached at