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Don Sawyer, Astrazeneca


Pharmaceutical Executive

Pharmaceutical ExecutivePharmaceutical Executive-06-01-2009
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In 1990, Don Sawyer entered industry like many others do: as a sales representative.


Vice President, Managed Markets, AstraZeneca

In 1990, Don Sawyer entered industry like many others do: as a sales representative. But unlike most, he quickly gained prominence in industry for being one of the driving forces in developing AstraZeneca's novel strategic approach to the new Medicare Part D Benefit in 2006. As a result, today more than 90 percent of those in Medicare now have comprehensive drug coverage from Part D.

Make no mistake, this achievement was a "huge team effort," notes Sawyer, who believes that the foundation of great leadership lies in trust and confidence—two qualities Howard Swain, one of Sawyer's first district managers at Pfizer, observed early on when "Don's quick wit and great personality" set him apart from other prospective job candidates. "Despite being short on experience, Don was very long on the characteristics and qualities we and other managers thought would make him very successful in the pharma industry—or any other industry," Swain says.

And his prediction was right.

Currently, Sawyer leads the way for AstraZeneca in developing and implementing both brand and contract strategy for managed markets across the company's portfolio for the US business, in addition to running its US managed markets sales organization. And there's no stopping the 41-year-old former athlete and sports enthusiast who hopes that in 10 years he will be part of a "tremendous leadership team that will lead AstraZeneca through this period of tremendous industry change."

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