On the pharma ecosystem

QUICK READ: There are a lot of patient-centered, hard-working people within the pharma industry. The problem is that there are way too many senior managers whose only goal is to remain relevant within the organization even if it means patients suffer. Trade magazine awards don’t mean anything if one company makes a bad decision that stains our industry.

I received quite a few comments on my post yesterday related to the PharmaVoice 100. First, let me say that I meant no disrespect. I know a lot of you work very hard to try and do what’s right for patients but, unfortunately, you are a minority within the industry.

I’ve worked in the industry for a long time. I’ve seen very good people leave mostly out of frustration although some are being forced to leave because of age discrimination as well. The frustration is largely due to two reasons. First, the pharma ecosystem of constant meetings and matrix organizations lead to watered-down cutting edge marketing. Second, they run into managers who are aware of costs but don’t understand the value to patients.

Then there is the agency side. I have been asked to review proposals for clients which I usually do at no charge. While most are OK some are so far off the mark that you can tell the agency wants their business just for the sake of business. I worked with a Director who was ready to tell her online agency “no thanks” when she was overruled by her manager who had a relationship with some people at the agency. Six months later her manager asked her why the online metrics were so bad upon which she resigned and is now working for a tech company.

If you won a PharmaVoive 100 award then congratulations but remember that feel-good feeling doesn’t matter to patients who can’t afford medications or the online health seeker who can’t get the information she needs to make a treatment decision.

Our awards should be decided upon by the people we serve not by industry insiders. When the publics level of trust in pharma goes up and stays there that is the best award any company can receive.

When a pharma company like “Moderna has not been living up to contractual obligations to disclose the percentage of taxpayer dollars that are funding its coronavirus vaccine project, but the pharmaceutical company tells Axios that federal money makes up “100% funding of the program.” There is something very wrong and the stink sticks to the whole industry.

Moderna has received almost $1 billion in taxpayer grants to get its vaccine through clinical trials and is considering setting the highest price of all coronavirus vaccine candidates.


Until new, patient centered, pharma leaders emerge who tell Wall Street to shove it because patients are our first priority I’ll be the first in line to shave her/his hand. Until then trade magazine awards mean little to me.