One of the best experiences of my career was working at Eli Lilly. They gave me the tools to succeed in an environment that promoted thinking outside of the box. Today, the Lilly that I knew and loved is a shell of its former self driven down by a combination of loosing really good people and patent expirations.
The team leaders that I worked for at Lilly were people that I would have followed up a steep hill. They knew how to motivate people and were great at recognizing hard work. They, like a lot of other talented people, are now gone. They left because Lily didn’t know what to do with them and they had reached what they thought were the end of their careers.
The eMarketing team, at Lilly, while I was there was also very talented. My manager was a great supervisor who helped me grow personally and professionally. She is now leading her own company and is doing great. The first person I worked for is now a Senior VP at one of the biggest newspapers in the country. Why couldn’t Lilly recognize their talent and find a way to hold onto them?
Then there is Gilead in California. A company that purchased a blockbuster cure for Hep-C and priced it so high that thousands of veterans could not afford treatment because the VA didn’t have the money . They made so much money that they were able to pay cash for a recent acquisition. People within the industry say that interviewing at Gilead is akin to “trying to get into an exclusive club” with employees who have their noses so high in the air it’s often difficult to make a real human connection. More proof that that paychecks and profits rule?
Finally, there is Amgen. The once small, big biopharma company has been taken over by an influx of J&J people and a CEO whose background is finance. Amgen is a “right to work” company which means that they can fire you for burping in the hall. They have laid off a lot of people often the older, more entrenched people who helped build the company.
Amgen has been fighting biosimilars of its drugs while at the same time developing biosimilars of competitor’s drugs. To make matters worse Amgen announced that it has reached a global settlement with AbbVie to resolve all pending litigation regarding AMGEVITA™/AMJEVITA™, a biosimilar to AbbVie’s Humira. Under terms of the agreement, AbbVie will grant patent licenses for the use and sale of AMGEVITA/AMJEVITA worldwide, on a country-by-country basis, and the companies have agreed to dismiss all pending litigation. Amgen expects to launch AMGEVITA in Europe on Oct. 16, 2018, and AMJEVITA in the United States on Jan. 31, 2023. This means higher prices for patients and consumers, but more profits for both companies.And the industry wonders why the media and consumers hate them?
If corporations are in fact people than something is very, very wrong with the who pharma companies are hiring . Either the people with a conscience re being weeded out or they are selling their souls to keep the paychecks flowing. Either way the industry I love so much is in deep trouble.
Gone are the days when patients came first, replaced by company slogans on the wall in the lobby while CEO’s beg for attention of Wall Street.
When I talked with someone who just took a package from Lilly she said “it’s not the same company anymore”. When I replied that the loss of patents had doomed the company she said “it’s a lot more thn that, it’s a change in culture for the worst”. Sigh…