W.J. “Billy” Tauzin, head of PhRMA, the pharmaceutical industry trade association, was recently interviewed by the New York Times (see “Extended Version of the Saturday Interview With W.J. ‘Billy’ Tauzin“). In this interview, Taurzin made an interesting comment that resonated with me:
“… the good news is, it’s kind of a cute analogy, that the pharma industry had to go through what patients go through and to recognize they were sick and to come to an understanding that they had a problem that required a remedy, required a cure, required a therapy.”
It resonated with me because I have been saying that the industry is sick for a long time and that us critics should focus on what needs to be done to make Pharma healthy (see “The Future of Big Pharma“). In 2004 I trademarked the phrase “Healthy Pharma 2010” for the title of a book I plan to edit that will condense the knowledge of experts into a “remedy” for Pharma’s illness.
At a recent industry conference, attendees addressed the industry’s most baffling issues and actually developed an action plan (see “Marketing the Pharma Industry: The Empire Strikes Back“) to be carried out by 2010.
Also, Hank McKinnell, CEO of Pfizer, wrote a book entitled “A Call to Action” in which he presented a 10-point action plan (see “McKinnell’s Mea Non Culpa” for a review).
The problem with these “plans” is that they do not address the systemic sickness of the industry, but rather merely adjust the PR to focus on the healthy parts. It’s like a patient with cancer pointing out how wonderful her vision is.
The plans also suffer from the “blind men/elephant” syndrome. When marketers look at the industry’s problems all they seem to see is a marketing problem. When CEOs look at the problems all they see is someone else’s problem, not theirs.
Over the past 4 to 7 years that I have been moderating the PHARMA-MKTING online discussion group and writing the Pharma Marketing News newsletter, I have collected quite a storehouse of expert opinion on improvements Pharma should make to become a healthy industry again. This is a start.
What’s really needed is a collaborative effort focused on identifying the sickness of the industry and offering a treatment plan if not a cure. I call upon all friends and critics of the industry to join this collaborative effort to come up with a vision — I won’t call it a plan — for “Healthy Pharma 2010(tm).”
If you are interested in contributing to this project, please contact me via email at: