The voice of big pharma employees

  • 2018. For half a century, corporate America has been ruled by the gospel of shareholder capitalism, as proclaimed by Milton Friedman.
  • While most senior pharma company executives focus on the profits, many of the rank and file really want to help patients but are overruled because of ROI.
  • Pharma companies are not a good place to work.  Open offices and small raises often lead to a stressful work environment.

For half a century, corporate America has been ruled by the gospel of shareholder capitalism, as proclaimed by Milton Friedman. But that model, which puts investor returns above all else, is running out of gas.   Pharma is at a crossroads and unless CEO’s make decisions that focus on patients they’re going to be paying a huge price.

Despite all the money pharma has spent on lobbying Republicans are turning on the pharma industry largely because the industry decided to put profit above all us under the guise that it takes a lot of money to develop drugs but that’s not the most serious problem facing the industry.  It’s people who work in pharma.

On Saturday I got a call from someone who has worked in pharma for over 12 years telling me she has decided to leave the industry.  Jennifer is one of the smartest people I have ever worked with and has consistently been rated as a top performer.  Here are her reasons for resigning:

1ne: Every bit of research has been about getting patients as customers not keeping them as customers or really helping them in the complex world of empowered patients.

2wo: Although rated as a top performer and promoted three times she raises are being neutralized by increases in her health care insurance which is now over $7500 a year.

3hree: She grew tired of a culture of “back to back” meetings and endless training on how to review employees.

4our: The CEO of her company earns 465X what she does.

The final last straw, however, was when she moved into her new offices in Boston.  They are all open with zero privacy.  “To me the offices were generic and sterile and said we don’t care about your work environment”.  She went on to tell me that it was really a struggle to be productive in this new open office structure.

Countless studies show that these nightmarish hellholes called “open offices” destroy productivity and make people miserable. Yet companies keep inflicting them on us, coyly pretending that the goal is to “foster collaboration,” when really it is to squeeze pennies out of overhead by packing more people into fewer square feet of floor space.

The open-plan arrangement isn’t just unpleasant. Researchers say open offices can make people stressed out and physically sick. Open offices might even be harming our brains. A Cornell study found workers in noisy open offices had elevated levels of epinephrine, also known as adrenaline, after only three hours of exposure.

In a 2014 survey by Monster, the job-seeking site, 61 percent of workers said work-related stress had made them physically sick, and nearly half said they had missed work because of it.

Pharma is at crossroads and has a habit of taking the wrong path.  Believe it or not, there ARE a lot of hard working good people who care about the patients we serve, but too often they are fighting a losing battle.