Why can’t pharma CEO’s lead?

KEY TAKEAWAY: If you ever doubt that there is a leadership void within pharma just look at the current crop of CEO’s who will do and say anything to protect their jobs (and paychecks) and appease the people on Wall Street.

Recently I was interviewed by a reporter for a major business publication who asked “why can’t pharmaceutical CEO’s understand that patients are ultimately more important than profits?”.  The answer is quite simple really.  All you need to do is look at the sky high salaries of most pharma CEO’s to understand that their loyalty is first and foremost to their paychecks.

What I really, frankly, can’t understand is why not one pharma CEO has come out and said “if any patient can’t afford our medications we will find a way to get them the medication, at no charge if necessary”.

Then there is the pesky leadership issue.  How many pharma CEO’s could really be considered leaders?  Speak up, I can’t hear you.

I personally think that you have to have a screw loose to want to work in pharma today. You’re entering a conservative culture where you’re going to be stuck in back to back meetings and where you’re likely to be laid off if the product you’re working on comes off patent. 

Some ask me why I am so critical of an industry that I work in.  It’s because I have seen first hand the good we can do to help patients and,  it’s also because I am passionate about the industry I love so much.  It can, and has to change.  We need new patient focused leaders who can put a wall between what’s best for Wall Street and what’s best for patients.

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