Sanjay K. Rao, CRA International

Nov 03, 2007
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Sanjay K. Rao
WHILE PHARMACEUTICAL MANAGEMENT consultants are expected to excel as general management consultants, they should master the intricate complexities of their industry to be in a position that adds value to the client's mission.

As an example, global strategic-pricing consultants should, at the very least, understand the complex terminologies, processes, agents, and regulatory mechanisms that govern the pricing of any NCE within any one country. This usually tends to vary from one country to another.

In order to make global-pricing recommendations of value to the pricing leadership within a pharmaceutical firm, however, they should also excel at synthesizing country-level insights, differences, and commonalities such that a viable global-pricing strategy (which has common global and country-specific elements) emerges. Further, a qualified global-pricing consultant should have enough expertise at the country level to help NCE pricing teams formulate country, region, or global implementation plans well in advance of product launch.

It is myopic to believe that evolution is contrary to revolution. They are both extremely necessary for survival, growth, and expansion. While revolution opens up a new path in previously unknown territories, evolution solidifies this path, making it possible for progress to occur on the path. Pharmaceutical firms cannot realize the full value of a new revolution in science or product marketing without investing in its evolution. In the area of product development, while revolution results in first-in-class products, evolution gets us best-in-class products. Evolution occurs not necessarily because of executive decree, but because it is necessary. Astute executives recognize this, and harness it for instituting inevitable change for the better. Patients, physicians, and payers—indeed, the biopharmaceutical ecosystem—survive and thrive in the face of considerable pressures only because of evolution that follows a revolution in science and how the science is delivered to patients.


  • Rapid ongoing erosion of public trust. Its consequences can be far reaching, including declines in market capitalization and the consequent inability to develop new medicines.
  • The glaring and lopsided disparities in delivering healthcare within the United States. Receiving good quality healthcare should not be the exclusive domain of those who can afford it. Vast numbers of human beings outside the United States remain deprived of basic medicine and healthcare, even in situations where their governments can afford to pick up the costs. The global pharmaceutical industry cannot remain an indifferent bystander, believing market forces will provide a solution to this; rather, it should find ways to be an active partner with governments and other agencies in solving such disparities. Such problems have arisen precisely because there have not been free markets for pharmaceuticals in most regions of the world.
  • The rapid commoditization of valuable, life-affirming drugs. While generics play a vital role in widely providing less-expensive drugs, the value of developing and launching highly differentiated branded drugs should not be underemphasized. It is important to encourage innovation and maintain healthy competition, which usually reinforce each other.
  • The need to encourage the development of best-in-class drugs—products that represent the best version of a revolution in science or its delivery to patients. The culture of innovation should value evolutions—patient-focused delivery devices; new dosing paradigms; safer, multipurpose therapies; drugs with better methods of action (MOAs) or patient-friendly payer benefit designs—as highly as first-in-class molecules.


CRA International, Inc. is a global management consulting firm specializing in business strategy, economics, and finance, with 700 consultants based in 26 offices worldwide. CRA International's Life Sciences Practice offers strategic advice to large and high-growth global biopharmaceutical firms on a variety of issues impacting corporate, brand, and product strategies.

Sanjay K. Rao is vice president of CRA International. He can be reached at

CRA International
T: 202-662-3978

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