Virginia Carden Carnahan, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

Jun 01, 2009
By Pharmaceutical Executive Editors

Virginia Carden Carnahan
Vice President, New Product Planning and Strategy, Vertex Pharmaceuticals

I got my first taste of this industry as an intern at Schering-Plough's Managed Care group. After finishing my MBA at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, I joined Schering Plough's oncology marketing team for Intron A. Afterward, I took a field sales rotation during the launch of Claritin. The field experience helped me to better understand which marketing strategies help deliver data clearly to physicians and patients.

Now I head up the New Product Planning and Strategy group at Vertex Pharmaceuticals. Essentially, we are interpreters. We collect customer insights, unmet needs, and communicate these to the research and development organizations within Vertex. This helps to shape the discovery and development of compounds that are aligned with the unmet needs of patients.

The pharma industry must discover new ways to address patient needs with new medicines, and ensure that they are accessible to those patients. To ensure that access, we need to develop strong value propositions for payers to complement the benefit/risk ratio for patients and physicians. Industry also needs to address the changing environment, and the current lack of trust between our industry and society. We need to rethink our strategies, and that may require new leadership to challenge the traditional approach.

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