Toolkit: How To Be a Better Partner - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Toolkit: How To Be a Better Partner
Big pharmas and little biotechs have been getting hitched for years. Now it's time to add a little innovation to the relationship. Three new rules will keep the game exciting.


Pharmaceutical Executive


The Partnership for Quality Medical Donations (PQMD) is an alliance between pharma and nonprofits for the development and delivery of medical products to the underserved and to disaster victims worldwide. The organization had its genesis in the early 1990s during the Bosnian War, when reports surfaced of donations by pharmaceutical companies of expired medicines and other unneeded drugs, delivered unannounced and inadequately packaged or labeled. According to James Russo, former head of PQMD, the donations became "instead of a helpful event, a toxic one." Prompted by industry concern, the group was formed as an alliance among pharma firms and on-the-ground nonprofits. It now provides billions of dollars of products and services to areas in need.

Of the three principles, this one perhaps represents the biggest stretch on the part of competitive pharmaceutical companies. Given that many corporations are still learning how to partner with one another as well as with governments, nonprofits, and public-policy groups, it may take time before these alliances become commonplace. Yet this principle, too, will increasingly underlie innovative partnerships as pharmaceutical companies push alliances into new territory.

Waseem Noor is a principal at IMS Health, specializing in strategy development, portfolio management, and decision process design. He can be reached at


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