10 Reasons why talented people are leaving pharma?

UnknownPOST SUMMARY: Over the last three years there has been a steady exodus of marketing talent leaving pharma.  Forget about patent cliffs and empowered patients the biggest challenge facing pharma is the lack of talent within their organization.  Unless it’s corrected the marketing of prescription drugs is going to continue to be marginalized.

According to a report from PWC entitled From Vision to Decision Pharma 2020, “The prevailing management culture, mental models and strategies on which the industry relies are the same ones it’s traditionally relied on, even though they’ve been eclipsed by new ways of doing business.” However it seems that very few within the industry are actually listening.

Today the strategy of mergers and acquisitions means layoffs and consolidation, but too often the ones who are left are the best and brightest but the best politically connected.  Time and time again the ones who do what is expected are the ones who stay within the industry while the ones who are viewed as disrupters are leaving because they are tired of people saying “no” and “we can’t do that”.


Here are some other reasons why talent is leaving the industry…

1ne: Your brand is off patent, you’re fired.  Usually when a brand comes off patent people are left to fend for themselves and find another job within the company.  If you stepped on someone’s toes to put patients first, chances are you are going to have a hard time.

2wo: Moving at the speed of a tortoise while CPG marketers are quickly adapting to changes to the marketplace.

3hree: Culture of back-to-back meetings to accomplish even small changes in marketing.

4our: MLR teams that don’t listen and want to minimize risk at a time when we should be taking more risk.

5ive: Promotions for the well politically connected while those that make it happen are left at the same level for years on end.


6ix: Open office environments meant to improve collaboration.  P L E A S E

7even: Recycled pharma people. Bouncing from agency to agency and back to pharma without any real accomplishments.

8ight: Inflating their self worth by presenting at pharma conferences. You are presenting why?

9ine: Refusal to put patients first and refusing to acknowledge empowered patients.

10en: It’s not about the money; it’s about feeling like I am actually making a difference.  Salaries within pharma are good, but today that’s not enough. People want to feel like they are contributing and helping patients.


It’s not only people within pharma.  This week I had two industry veterans tell me that they have decided to leave the consulting business because “it’s just too hard to get through”.  Combined, they have over 20 years of experience, but one told me “it’s different today, marketers just don’t get it and having to, time and time again, explain marketing 101 is tiring”.