Usually, at this time of the year, editors look back on the major stories of the past year. Let's be different and look forward to the New Year! Not that it's going to be any more pleasant than the old year; it's just better to prepare for what's coming than to reminisce about what's come and gone.
Of course, the elephant in the room is the economy. But what about the new political realities, which will be driven by the failing economy, that the industry must prepare for?
The elephant in the room is the
economy about which the
following headlines should give
the drug industry and pharmaceutical marketers pause:
"Ad-Spending Forecasts Are
"It's Official! US has been in
Recession since 2006!"
"Bristol-Myers to Cut Another
10% of Workers"
That elephant will stay put for
quite awhile -- experts suggest
that the economy will get worse
Add to these economic woes
some new political realities: ie,
the likelihood that a Democratcontrolled 111th Congress will usher in new
regulations of DTC advertising, give FDA more
power, and amend Medicare Part D to allow the
government to negotiate drug prices.
Don't forget healthcare reform, which will get lots
more renewed attention now that Tom Daschle
has been selected as Obama's new Secretary of
Health and Human Services.
Last, but not least, is the resignation of Andrew
von Eschenbach, the current FDA Commissioner,
effective January 20, 2009, and the urgent need to
find his replacement.
Many pharmaceutical companies are and have
been preparing to weather the economic storm by
cutting back on staff and ad spending (see "DTC
Ad Spending Will Decrease 9% in 2008 and 11%
But what about the political storm? Is the pharma
industry preparing for that?
PhRMA's revision of its DTC Guidelines was an
effort to head 'em off at the pass, but the ink on
that document was barely dry before it was
criticized by Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak,
leading members of the House Committee on
Energy and Commerce, as not going far enough.
So much for general principles.
What else should you do to
prepare? I suggest that you peek
inside the "enemy's" tent for what
to expect, take the pulse of your
stakeholders and customers, and
look outside the box for actionable
ideas. Hopefully, this issue of
Pharma Marketing News will help
you accomplish that.
First, Mark S. Senak, J.D., SVP,
Fleishman-Hillard, lays out the
details of the political landscape
ahead and suggests what the
industry should do about it (see "The Changing Policy Landscape").
Next we look at how well pharmaceutical companies are managing
their Patient Assistance Programs
(PAPs) to help needy patients pay
for medications (see "Patient Assistance Program Rankings"). A good PAP also helps improve
a drug company's image among its healthcare
Upon defeating Erwin Rommel's tank forces in
North Africa, US General Patton said "Rommel,
you magnificent bastard! I read your book!"
Actually, Rommel never finished his book on tank
warfare, but Tom Daschle's book, "Critical: What
We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis," has
been written and reached best-seller status. Have
you read it?
For those among you who do not have time to
read Daschle's book, I have done it for you. For
my review, see "Critical: What Daschle Plans to
Do About the Healthcare Crisis" in this issue.
Maybe no shoes were thrown at Eschenbach
when he announced his intent to resign his job as
FDA Commissioner come January 20, 2009, but
many pundits and journalists have long taken his
departure for granted and wondered who would be
chosen to replace him.
In order to cut through all this chatter and determine who real people favor for the new commissioner -- whether they be executives and staffers
working within the pharmaceutical industry, agents
and vendors to the industry, healthcare professionals, members of the general public, or staffers
within government health agencies -- Pharma
Marketing News hosted the online survey "Who
Should Obama Nominate for FDA Commissioner?" The results are summarized in this issue (see "Reforming the FDA: It All Starts with a New Commissioner!").
While no survey will determine who the next FDA
Commissioner will be, it can help us understand
the what kind of leadership is desired by various
Those ignorant of history may be destined to
repeat it, but those who refuse to see into the
future and prepare for it are destined to die!