Sander Flaum, Cary Lemkowitz, Flaum Partners

Nov 03, 2007
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Sander Flaum
CHANGES ARE ROCKING the industry, and companies need to respond in kind. Generics are flooding the marketplace. Foreign protocols are making new-product development more demanding than ever. And we can only guess at the future of pricing. But revolutionary opportunities are just as powerful. Look at the growth of personalized medicine, biologics, and the exciting pipelines in oncology, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, HIV, and other therapeutic areas. The revolution is here, and the smartest companies are right in the front lines.

General consultants are often extremely bright people with MBAs from the finest B-schools, and they deliver a multitude of processes...again and again and again. What many of them don't do, however is execute—they've never had to. What's needed now is industry-specific experience, and lots of it.

Cary Lemkowitz
Pharma companies need to work and play well with everyone else in the value-chain sandbox. They need to drop their adversarial attitudes about managed care organizations, pharmacy benefit managers, and drug superstores and reach out to them to form productive alliances.

Specifically, there is the need for energetic, statesman-like leaders who can reach out to both Congress and the general populace. More money needs to be spent not on lobbying, but on educating people about the drugs being developed to treat life-threatening illnesses. Imagine the effectiveness of a highly visible, well-funded initiative featuring a respected spokesperson on the level of Meryl Streep. The time for speculating about that kind of cooperative industry program is over. It's time now to get it done.


Providing prescription drug coverage for everyone who needs it is the right thing to do. So, who is better qualified to devise the best plan: Congress, the presidential candidates, or the pharmaceutical industry in partnership with the medical profession? The smartest companies will establish programs now to make sure their drugs are accessible to all who need them.

Senior managers need to get out of their offices and innovate. The marketing tools that are available today are, in their own way, as revolutionary as the molecules that are being developed. Managers need to drive innovation in both areas. They need to put programs in place to embed the culture of innovation deep in their companies' DNA.

And finally, they need to gather all the business intelligence they can about their competition. They need to understand what the competition is doing and anticipate what they're going to do. We like to call it "healthy paranoia," the knowledge that there's always someone out there trying to steal share from your brand.


With Wal-Mart promoting $4 generics, the pharmaceutical industry has to do what it has always done—create superior new products that both physicians and patients will insist on having access to. At the end of the day, companies that help people live happier, healthier, longer lives will have a place of honor at the national table.

But first: Companies need to be brutally honest with themselves—and us—about the areas where they need help. Traditional pharmaceutical marketing just won't cut it anymore. Companies that are ready to innovate can now jump the revenue curve more than ever before.


Flaum Partners Incorporated is a marketing and communications consultancy focused exclusively on the pharmaceutical industry. It dedicates itself to helping its clients' brands jump the revenue curve. Led by Sander A. Flaum, FPI's partners include former corporate heads of pharma companies, advertising agencies, and leaders in medical education.

Sander Flaum is CEO of Flaum Partners. He can be reached at

Cary Lemkowitz is a strategic partner at Flaum Partners. He can be reached at

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