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Senior manager, WW commercial development, Pfizer
ROLE MODEL: Fred Hassan
HAS: "Infectious enthusiasm for my work"
Tariq Arshad has seen pharma's resource-strapped, generic-bedeviled future—and he's here to say that it can be handled. The experience came in his native Pakistan about 10 years ago. Arshad, after burning out as a pediatric oncologist, was working for Pharmacia & Upjohn. His challenge: maintain sales of the anxiety drug Xanax, even with hundreds of generic competitors.
He arrived in New York a month after 9/11, survived the Pfizer–Pharmacia merger, and soon found himself working on doomed Exubera. Today, he handles both marketing and early commercial for Pfizer's Alzheimer's portfolio. "Anybody who aspires to a marketing leadership role has to spend time in the trenches, so to speak, working with R&D to optimize the commercial value of their assets," says Arshad. "Without doing that really, we won't be effective marketers once the product reaches launch stage."
These days, Arshad sees tactics at Pfizer he hasn't seen since Pakistan—a flattening structure, fewer marketing resources, and a willingness to learn how to compete with generics. It's an environment where he's already proved that he can thrive.