POST SUMMARY: As labor day approaches the biggest challenge for the pharma industry continues to be holding on to experienced and talented marketers who take the view that patient centered marketing is essential.
I could see why so many people are leaving the industry after reading some of the comments on Cafe Pharma regarding the layoff’s at Amgen. It seems that, even though Amgen reported great numbers, they have decided that a lot of the people that made Amgen a good company are being told “thank you but we don’t need you anymore”.
Those of us who have worked in pharma know what it feels like to be on a brand that comes off patent and having to find another position within the company. I was on the Prozac team when we lost a court case that meant the brand was going generic and having that meeting pop-up on my calendar to learn if I was being laid off took years off my life in stress. My talent, however, was recognized and I was able to work with a great team on the launch of Cialis.
I keep seeing a lot of people play musical chairs moving from companies like Sanofi and Pfizer to companies like Biogen and Gillead but the people, I consider, to be really talented are still, for the most part, sitting on the sidelines working for agencies or consulting. The majority of pharma companies don’t want rebels or nonconformists they want people who can sit in meetings and go with the flow even though it’s the wrong thing do. This is a key reason why so much DTC marketing is mediocre.
I’m happy doing what I do and working with biopharma clients. I get to choose who I work with but I also get to try and implement change if it’s needed. I do see some people who get it, but there are still too many who think they know it all and spend their time in back to back meetings trying to be productive. Our culture needs to change, but to date that the change has been elusive. Companies like Biogen are losing their edge because they are recirculating the same people who have dragged down the industry. Maybe things will change but the rebels need to be hired in greater numbers.