Big pharma: Its own worst enemy?

Big pharma shows no sign of wanting to change or implementing change to meet the new challenges of a changing healthcare environment.  

What happens when your ad agency does great work on the launch of your drug but, because of your company processes, they are shown the door?  It happens a lot more than you would think even though good working relationships often take months, and sometimes years, to develop.  All because someone in the chain of command wants to consolidate vendors.

Then there is an announcement from a top pharma company saying they are laying off people because one of their products has lost patent protection.  How do you expect to retain talent when they could be just a heartbeat away from being let go?

I talked with a field MLS person who was informed that she was being let go after six years of working with, and establishing relationships with her HCP’s.  “I wasn’t even given the chance to interview for another area.  I was just told that I am going to be let go, ” she told me.  Has big pharma learned nothing at all?

When it comes to agencies there seems to be a merry-go-round despite some of the good work they do.  As DTC teams change people agencies often live in fear that they will be given the boot in favor of someone else who has done a better job sucking up to decision makers.

As one senior executive told me “it’s pretty much business as usual for big pharma”.  When I asked him why there was such a reluctance to change he answered “lack of people who want to change and too many people trying too hard just to fit in”.

Over the course of this year I have seen at least half a dozen talented people leave the industry because they had had enough.  Yet pharma CEO’s have not acknowledged these problems as long as sales are keeping the street happy.  Will they change?  Well, if they don’t, they will have change forced on them.