Nothing Earth-shattering here by any means, but a couple interesting reads in the blogs by Derek Lowe (via Matthew Herper) and an article by Luke Timmerman dealing with CHANGE in the world of drug development and commercialization.
The Herper/Lowe, piece to a degree, laments that the heads of drug companies may not value the "human capital, i.e. scientists" involved in the drug discovery process. And as the economic gap widens between the number of new drug approvals (bringing in much needed revenue) and the high cost of developing and marketing new drugs -- well at present it looks like R&D scientists are paying for it with their jobs. The observation is made that maybe this isn't the best strategy to employ in a research/discovery driven business. Nevertheless, there is also a hard economic reality and SOMETHING different clearly has to be done -- as the current model isn't sustainable any longer.
The Timmerman piece talks about some of the changes that are taking place on the commercialization of drugs that contributes to lower sales and higher costs - exacerbating a potential need to cut R&D staff (though that response is a choice). On the comercialization side, it is not good enough to just get your drug to the market anymore. You actually need to show it meets an unmet need and quite frankly works better than exisiting alternatives -- otherwise me, you, the insurance companies and the government don't want to pay for it. The whole concept of "comparative effectiveness" is bringing a new discipline to drug development -- and sets a higher bar too.
The two articles demonstate the World has changed. An for an industry to survive in response to meaningful change -- it has to adapt or head for extinction (in this case layoffs or ceasing to exist as an independent business). It has always been thus. Just not in the (bio)pharma industry up till now.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Apr 2nd 2012.