Future Thinking

If you were asked in a survey what you think the near-term future of the pharmaceutical industry was and how much security you had, how would you respond?  Do you think the patent cliff issues are getting behind the industry?  Has the brand name part of the industry bottomed out and are things starting to turn around?  How does your job fit into all of this?  Are you on the the cutting edge adding value or are you in a position that could easily be replaced by a contractor or even just eliminated?

These are very hard questions and even though not discussed publicly, I am sure industry professionals spend a lot of time pondering these issues.  Take a look at this survey done by Pharma IQ to see how some of your peers answered these same questions.  This group has an online community that looks at the global industry and I think you will find the report quite interesting.  Note that they did a similar survey a couple of years ago and this is a follow-up that compares and contrasts the thinking.

The survey reflects a lot of the current and quite frankly predictable thinking within the industry.  Yes, the blockbuster era is over and the patent cliff issues are hurting as much as we thought they would.  People are still very concerned about their jobs as they see redundancy and the profitability of the industry declining.  The payers are having much more influence and the government regulators are having a huge impact on the way business is being done in our industry. It is interesting that these findings seem very consistent in that they come from all geographies and from different functional areas within the industry.  The thought map with some common phrases is also quite interesting.

Perhaps the takeaway that would be most valuable is that it seems as though the industry has reached a turning point.  There are a lot of currents that seem to be converging and we are definitely still in dangerous waters.  It does seem to be at a turning point.  So many of the dangers and downsides have now been realized and it is time to turn to the future.  There are green shoots starting to come out and the industry could emerge stronger if only it can maneuver through this last stretch of dangerous trends.

Who will be the survivors and even the winners in this new world?  This should be a question that evokes a great deal of thought and contemplation.  I would bet that the winners will be different than those who won a couple decades ago.  For sure winners will not be able to succeed using the same models as before.  The winners will be able to embrace the current reality, whether that be healthcare reform or the role of payers, and go with the flow rather than constantly fight the inevitable.  The winners will constantly look for where they add value and will make sure they are compensated only for the value they add.  They will recognize the old way is the old way and that new thinking is needed to move forward.  That is easier said than done but the winners will clearly see the excitement and thrill in the new environment.

Quit clinging to the old ways, begin to maneuver your way out of the turbulence and find the smooth waters that will allow the industry to prosper again.  This will only happen if we take the risks necessary to help improve the healthcare system for everyone, not just ourselves. Think big and be positive.

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