Thought Leader: Molecular Stewardship - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Thought Leader: Molecular Stewardship


Pharmaceutical Executive


How do you generate interest in a new company among potential employees and prescribing physicians?

There are a few big pluses to recruiting people to Alamo Pharmaceuticals. There are only two levels of management between the CEO and our sales reps. Therefore, we can make decisions quickly. In some ways, that goes back to the roots of the industry when companies were smaller and more nimble, and there were fewer people involved in the decision structure.

Second, I've always been lucky. That's part of being born Irish [laughs]. But about half of my field force that worked for me in the past selling clozapine has come to work for me at Alamo. So the doctors will know them when they walk through the door.

The rest of the reps come from a who's who of Big Pharma companies. Every one of them has Big Pharma experience. After all, one of the untold stories behind all these mergers and acquisitions is that a lot of very qualified, professional, accomplished people have become available. And we were able to attract some of them from companies like Pfizer, Novartis, Merck and AstraZeneca.

Finally, physicians headed up a lot of the early pharmaceutical companies, and I think a doctor at the helm still means a lot. We can go in and say our company's CEO and founder is a psychiatrist and a neurologist, and that he picked FazaClo as the first marketed product for the company because of the insights that he has into psychiatry, and his appreciation of the pharmaceutical's unique place in treatment. I think healthcare professionals are going to want to hear that message.

How do you interpret the uncertainty that Medicare can bring about in your market?

Take this as one man's opinion. If we look back to before Medicare was conceived, many healthcare companies were running scared saying, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling! We will never be the same." Today we have the largest medical industry, both in terms of healthcare providers and the pharmaceutical industry. Why are we so afraid? It seems to me if government makes medicines more available to people, people will get back to taking their medicines as they are prescribed. In my mind, when patients are taking their prescribed medicines, that is a very positive thing.

What can Alamo Pharmaceuticals do to stay ahead of those changes?

I think we should avoid becoming a victim of change. We should become a leader of change. We are part of an industry that has seen more advances in medicine, and a greater increase in the average lifespan, than in all time previously recorded. We need to start telling that story and help people appreciate what the pharmaceutical industry contributes rather than trying to defend our financial statements. If we get out there and we work cooperatively with government, the industry will grow and flourish in the future.

Anybody who is on the side of making healthcare more available to the people of this country certainly is a friend of the pharmaceutical industry. I think the whole issue amounts to being afraid of change. Let's not fool ourselves—change is coming. So we have to understand the change, and be able and willing to innovate around it.

Paul Duffy was recruited by Alamo Pharmaceuticals' founder in July 2004 to launch the company's first product, FazaClo, an orally disintegrating tablet form of a drug for treatment-resistant schizophrenia patients. The ideal candidate for the job, Duffy had previously spent years leading product marketing for Novartis' Clozaril, the original drug. Following the molecule, so to speak, Duffy switched companies when Novartis shifted Clozaril's promotional dollars towards newer brands, as Clozaril became subject to significant generic competition. As executive vice president at Alamo, Duffy is charged with leading sales and marketing, two groups that he built from the ground up. The Massachusetts native received Novartis' Business Excellence Award in 1999, 2001 and 2003.


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