Michael D. Lam



We didn't think, even before Vioxx got pulled, that Arcoxia would ever get approved because we thought it had cardiovascular signals-and because of the debate over Vioxx for the last five years. Now, unequivocally, we don't believe it will be approved.

Spend Trends: A $20 Billion Bill and Plenty of Change

Pharma marketing appears to operate in a world of its own. When US ad expenditures dipped in 2001, pharma's spend marched steadily on. (See "A Different Drum.") Now, as the ad industry celebrates the quadrennial coincidence of the Olympics and the US presidential campaign, is pharma taking notice? "Not really," says Anne Devereaux, chief integration officer at BBDO.

Why Alliances Fail

Our industry can succeed only by collaborations," a biotech CEO recently told Pharm Exec, "because no company has the whole of the jigsaw complete -- only a piece." Clearly many of his pharma counterparts agree. The web of alliances formed by the top two dozen biotech and pharma companies from 1973 to 2001 -- at least the 12,500 contracts made public by these firms -- is as tightly knit as a linen shirt.

Dangerous Liaisons

Alliances are a favorite of corporate strategists everywhere. More than 10,000 interfirm collaborations were formed worldwide in 2000, double the number of five years before. Alliances now generate 25 percent of the top 1,000 public US companies' revenues, up from 7 percent in 1990.

Is Everyone a Target?

Pfizer is embroiled in a whistleblower lawsuit based on an unproven legal theory with the potential "to scare the hell out of a lot of drug companies," says attorney Alan Minsk of Arnall Golden Gregory. If upheld, even those compliant with FDA regulations for off-label promotion might still be liable for Medicaid fraud under the federal False Claims Act (FCA).

Knowing When to Pull the Plug On Your Experimental Drug

When Gary Cupit, vice-president of global business development and licensing at Novartis, recently told an audience at Columbia University that "we always cling to products a year longer than we should," he was referring to one of pharma's more pressing and expensive, if lesser-known, problems: failure to promptly pull the plug on unsuccessful pipeline projects. A drug in clinical trials burns about $30,000 a day. For compounds that never make it to approval, that adds up to a frittering of $11 million each.