Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Now Understand Why the Titanic Hit the Iceberg

Since I began this journey across the Internet looking for Big Pharma’s story about how they’re viewing and dealing with the issues coming at them. To date, what I’ve found has not been very encouraging. The industry seems oblivious to the threats heading its way. I’m reminded of the RMS Titanic sailing along in the dark, oblivious to the lurking iceberg until, wham! , impact, and we all know what happened eventually to Leonard DiCaprio.

Larry suggested that I visit some of the smaller firms to see if the same lack of concern is prevalent. That’s where we’re going this week.

I started with one of the generics, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. ( ). OK, they’re one of the threats, but, I wanted to see what their view is. Interestingly, it’s not terribly different from the larger pharmaceuticals’ and industry associations’ websites that I’d visited earlier.

There is one significant difference between Teva’s website and the others visited. That’s a page ( ) that gives a fairly good summary of what the generics industry is all about. But, nothing gives a clue about the competitive threat that generics present to Big Pharma. It’s almost like they’re embarrassed to bring the subject up. So, what gives?

Next, I went to Amgen’s website ( ). I found this site to be a bit more focused on the science behind drugs and in particular their approach to research. Their pipeline page ( ) presents the molecules (sounds scientific right?) under study and which modalities are being used. But, again, there’s not a lot about the future of the industry. The closest I came to an industry overview was a presentation to financial analysts ( ) that hints at some of the issues that I’ve been railing about for months. But, that’s about all that I get.

I understand that publically traded companies have stock exchange and SEC rules about what they can say, how they say it, and when they say it. Yet, the cookie cutter approach that I’ve seen across various websites visited so far is inexplicable to me. I’ve heard the joke about how large corporations all use the same consultants hence they’re all alike. I just never thought that it would be true. If their websites are all alike then what about their strategies and business models?

Everything that I’ve seen so far only reinforces to me the storm which is waiting to break over Big Pharma. Momentum, or, is it inertia, seems to be drawing the pharmaceutical industry into a Black Hole from which there will be no escape.

I’ll be looking for more behind this story in future blogs and continue looking for evidence of coming demise of Big Pharma.

As always, we welcome your feedback. Please contact us at We look forward to hearing from you.

Contributed by Guy de Lastin

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