If I Ran Pfizer - Pharmaceutical Executive


If I Ran Pfizer
The industry is at a crossroads, and all eyes are on the world's largest drug maker. When Pfizer leads, others follow. So we asked: If you had that sort of influence, how would you steer Big Pharma?

Pharmaceutical Executive

Les Funtleyder, analyst, Miller Tabak
The death of the blockbuster model has been talked about for a long time. I think that argument misses the point, quite frankly. Even the smallest company needs a certain amount of revenue to justify the expense of clinical trials. I don't think we'll ever enter an era where Pfizer is deliberately trying to develop products that only bring in $30 or 40 million a year. I don't think they can justify that.

Consider the Big Picture

Even though people can see the slow death of the blockbuster model, times are still reasonably good. There are many forces that advise against change. We look at companies as being sort of an aggregation of resources, processes, and priorities. Resources, which are things like your brands and your sales force, can be changed fairly easily if you have a mandate from the executive suite. But it's very hard to change your processes and your priorities, because of the culture that people have grown up with in pharma.

Steve Wunker, partner, Innosight
What you need is support from the middle- and upper-middle levels of management. You need cross-functional, cross-business units—groups of people who will find a new vision for what the company is and what business it's in—to initially identify what are some quick wins and small steps to generate momentum while still having a longer-term vision of what the company should become. If you're asking people to change what they do, to tailor it based on the drug on the market, then decentralization becomes really important.

In a Nutshell...

Despite the magnitude of the issues facing Big Pharma, industry observers seem to agree on some common solutions—even if they didn't always see eye to eye on the finer details of execution.

  • Pharma stands to lose $60-80 billion in revenue and capital. "Companies are beginning to move away from a focus on research and development to a much greater emphasis on search and development," said Terry Hisey, managing principal at Deloitte Consulting.
  • Physicians are sick and tired of all the racket. "Pharma will move away from episodic marketing and toward more multichannel marketing, which empowers both the consumers as well as the healthcare practitioners," said Kolby Barbera, pharmaceutical practice leader at marketing firm Quaero.
  • FDA approval is half the battle. "In the past, the big focus used to be on product approval, but there really needs to be a focus now on driving product adoption," Hisey said. "They also need to focus on demand creation, not just simply sales."

Ride the Biomarker Revolution

Molecular diagnostics will increasingly play a role in developing therapeutics. And I think the biomarker revolution will continue, where companies will be looking at how to better tailor a therapeutic to a patient and minimize the risk profile.


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