The Top 50 Pharma Companies, featured in this issue, are usually a separate topic
from the “theme” we establish for our round table panel. But in this case there’s a
direct relationship. Speaking to the upheaval healthcare is trying to deal with, as we
do in Containing the Chaos, we see the effects of that struggle in the trends emergent in the Top 50. The regulatory changes, patent cliff, pricing pressures, global
expansion and other factors have all shown up in where the biggest companies are
headed. A growing number of mergers and acquisitions (nearly a 15% rise over
2014) resulted from attempts to satisfy shareholder demands and profit pictures.
And, at that, there was only a 2% growth in revenue for the top 50, contrasted to
the 18% revenue increase for the top 50 biotech companies.
Still, FDA novel drug approvals were up significantly in 2015, demonstrating that the industry has found
areas where progress is possible ( 45 novel drugs approved, 16 of which were first in class, and 47% were
for rare or “orphan diseases”). There was also the first biosimilar approval.
Of course, Turing and Valeant did not burnish the image of our industry, with accusations of price
gouging clinging to both. There’s a lot that needs to be done to reinvigorate a positive view of who we are
and what we do.
Overall, we are headed in the right direction – or should I say directions? There are many things going
on at once, on the regulatory, R&D, digital, strategic and other fronts. We are working to adapt to the
changing product playing field, develop precise and practical technological pathways, negotiate our way
through a thicket of governmental demands, accommodate ourselves to the myriad cultural demographics we serve, and help HCPs in their ever-more-challenging task of serving a population of patients in
possession of good, bad and indifferent information about their healthcare options.
So it’s apt that our round table panel addresses some of the issues that are apparent in the Top 50 trends.
As always, HS&M is trying to shed light on those topics to help you continue to improve the great work
And always, please keep the feedback coming. It all goes to making the magazine better for all of us.
Cari Kraft, Publisher
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