KEY IDEA: As big pharma companies continue to acquire smaller companies good leaders are being replaced by bad ones. Bad ones are more connected politically and make bad decisions to keep their jobs and surround themselves with “yes people” who are more interested in keeping their paychecks than putting patients first and making good decisions.
Good leaders, within pharma, are a rare breed. They understand that, above all else, pharma companies have to get closer to patients and that the best business decisions, although legal, may not be right. Unfortunately, what I am seeing is that the best leaders, from smaller acquired companies, are leaving the industry.
Corporate politics are a necessary evil in any organization, but bigger pharma companies have a responsibility to weed out managers who are obsessed with sales and staying politically connected. These people are the ones who cause serious damage to organizations by making bad decisions based on market share rather. Most have come up through sales and will do anything they can to ensure that marketing supports sales. They are a huge danger to any company.
Acquisitions are usually a logistical nightmare and companies acquiring smaller ones usually retain managers based on the suggestions of current management. But what happens when a VP decides to “take a package” and leaves someone who in charge who is unqualified? Will the new owners be able to sniff out incompetent people and keep the smart ones? Hardly. Newly promoted people within the new company see their new titles as an increase in power and a chance to rid themselves of people who are smarter than them.
My guess is that 3-4 years from now we are going to learn of more fines for illegal marketing or other violations. Karma will eventually take hold and bad managers will be found out, but until then they are a danger to the pharma industry.