Challenges await pharma in 2019

  • A Kaiser Family Foundation poll last March found that 80 percent of the country believes that prescription drug prices are unreasonable.
  • Drug spending in the United States is slowing. Retail prescription drugs represent just 10 percent of the $3.5 trillion the nation spent on health care in 2017, according the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That’s an increase of just 0.4 percent.
  • 90 percent of prescriptions in the United States are less-expensive generic copies of brand-name drugs.
  • 83 percent of Americans insured by their employer had a plan with at least three prescription drug tiers, according to the Kaiser Foundation. The average co-pay for the highest tier was $110.

The pharma industry is facing a lot of challenges in 2019. With a new Democratic House and continued emphasis on drug prices pharma companies that put shareholders above patients are going to find that every move they make is under a magnifying glass.

Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the pharma industry, however, is the continued drain of talent and attracting Millennials to an industry that has been beaten up pretty good. This year I was invited by a prestigious school in the Bostom area to talk with their MBA candidates about a career in pharma.

I shared with them the insights I had gained via qualitative research and how rewarding it was to know that we are making inroads against a lot health problems. The subject, however, quickly turned to pharma’s company culture. Several candidates said that their experience as an intern ad various pharma companies was less than rewarding. They talked about the culture of shared decision making via all day meetings and Power Points and the inability to really feel like they were making a difference.

Asian Businesswoman Leading Meeting At Boardroom Table

I would suggest that talented people turning away from the industry is a huge threat. Some have offered lucrative compensation packages to lure candidates, but Millennials want to feel like they are making a difference. Do we really want people who are lured by money instead of a chance to make a difference?

The CEO of Novartis went as far as to say that he would allow employees to wear jeans to work to attract Millennials but he is out of touch if he think that’s going to really attract people to a career in pharma.

Pharma CEO’s have to focus on their organizations if they are to meet the challenges presented to the industry. Wall Street doesn’t know what’s best for patients and doing things that are best for patients without focusing on just the ROI can make pharma a customer driven industry.

I’m so ready for the challenge and look forward to serving my clients with the best I have. Are you ready?