Why the pharma organization needs to change

grtchnfx_gretchen-fox_disruptionKEY TAKEAWAY: Until pharma and biotech companies hire more people willing to disrupt the organization they are going to experience serious problems.  Pharma needs “pirates” who can work within a regulated industry, yet challenge outdated processes that don’t add value to patients.

Pharma companies are in serious trouble.  Over the last two weeks I came across sales people who want reprints for off label use as well as a Director who discarded research on patient needs for a website because that content “didn’t help them sell the product”.  Ha?

More and more I am working with people who complain that their organization is doing the wrong thing and heading in the wrong direction, but they are both afraid and reluctant to fight the status quo. That’s too bad because we need more people who can challenge ideas that don’t make sense and teach the company how beneficial it is to put patients first.


A leading consulting company, last year, said that the biggest challenge for pharma is not R&D or the ACA but, rather its own organizational structures that punish disruptors and people who are trying to follow their conscious rather than worrying about “fitting in”.

I love working in pharma because I have seen first hand the benefit that our industry brings to the quality of lives.  I always start meetings with a simple sentence “what is the objective” and I always ask “what do our customers and patients need and want to make health decisions?”  Being a consultant, I can either stay quiet to get more work or speak up when I feel that those I work for are making a serious mistake.  When a VP killed the integration of patient insights into a website I warned that it was a serious mistake.  Four months later their website metrics are in the trash and that VP is trying to cover his ass. I’m saying that I was right, but to completely ignore three months of research was a poor decision.


If you work with pharma on the agency side, I urge you to speak up and get the attention of key influencers when you know that they are making mistakes.  If you work for a pharma or biotech company you need to make a choice; either try to fit in and in the process lose part of who you are or become an advocate for patients who need a voice within our industry.  The choice is yours…