Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fellow Travelers

After several weeks of visiting various websites for pharmaceutical companies and their front organizations, I’ve gotten a little tired of reading the same old, same old over and over again. To recap for those of you joining late, I’ve been out on the cyberhighway visiting Big Pharma’s and their trade groups’ websites looking for any sign of their being aware of the impending financial disaster about to overtake them. Needless to say, I haven’t found much.

I’ve always thought that I was reasonably knowledgeable about what goes down in the life sciences industry. But, I’ve been shocked by the sameness of the various sites that I’ve been visiting and the total lack of any sense of awareness of the industry’s impending problems.

I spent some time with Larry this week going over the results to date. We feel that we’ve done sufficient research so far and don’t think that blogging about additional site visits are going to add much at this time and we don’t want to run the risk of boring our readers. So, we’re going to change our approach a bit. We’d been planning this anyway but we’re going to speed things up a bit. (But, if any of you out there are aware of any pharmaceutical sites that we should visit, please send them in.)

Starting this week, we’re going to start looking for the analysts and other industry pundits are saying. We also want to go back and do something that we haven’t done for a while – live interviews with some people whom we’ve met with before.

This week while doing my research, I came across Derek Lowe’s Seeking Alpha website ( ) and an article that he wrote titled Big Pharma’s Future Death Spiral ( ). The author summarizes and comments on a presentation called The Pharma Titanic: It's Time to Root for the Iceberg given by Stefan Loren of Westwicke Partners, a Baltimore based financial firm. (What’s with all these Titanic analogies?) Stefan does a very good job of hitting on the major issues confronting Big Pharma. In particular, he not only discusses the vanishing product pipeline issue but goes into how poorly new product research and development have been managed. Derek’s comments are also very good. I recommend visiting the site and reading the article.

I came across another interesting link to Stefan’s work ( ). The link shows a Powerpoint presentation entitled Is the Pharmaceutical Industry Exposing Itself to Unacceptable Risk by Expanding Offshore Outsourcing? The presentation is a very good summary of current trends and future outcomes. And, while not all gloom and doom, Stefan hints at a very different future.

I’m encouraged by articles like these because some people connected with the industry don’t have their heads in the sand. (Although, they generally don’t work for pharmaceutical companies.) We’ll continue to seek out these folks and hope to visit with some of them in the future.

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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