By Sven Larsen (@zemoga)
Do you have all your holiday shopping done yet? if you’re like most of us you’ve probably received wish lists from your friends and family, so you know what kind of gifts they would like this holiday season.
Well in the interest of public service I thought I would do the same for the Pharmaceutical industry. Here’s some of the things I would like our clients, colleagues and co-workers to receive in the coming year:
FOR THE FDA
A two-part wish.
First, more resources. As our population ages and healthcare becomes more and more important in this country, we need to realize that the FDA can’t take on this huge challenge without a significant increase in staffing and resources. Whether it’s monitoring Pharma use of social media and DTC advertising, expanded drug approval requests or managing the the flow of unregulated pharmaceuticals in to the US from other countries, there is no area where one could argue that the FDA is overstaffed. Give this organization the tools it needs to do its job correctly and we might not have to wait for almost a year to get a ruling on social media use.
Secondly, a Chief Information Officer who really knows his stuff. It’s clear from the administrations existing response to challenges like social media that the organization needs a better understanding of the latest digital and technical developments and the challenges that these create. The Obama administration has been forward thinking in adding tech-savvy information specialists to it’s governing team. Let’s see that trickle down to organizations like the FDA as well.
FOR PHARMA COMPANIES
Our own version of Steve Jobs. Like him or hate him, there’s no denying that Jobs has been an extremely successful executive and one of the great marketers of his generation. Under Jobs’ leadership, Apple has not only run in to walls, they’ve crashed right through them. In the process, they’ve also created entire new categories of products and set the bar high for their competition.
Pharma needs that. We need someone with the insight and courage to be the revolutionary,groundbreaking leader. We need someone who will inspire their own company and the competition. There’s no question that Apple has made Microsoft and Google’s products better (and vice versa). Who will be that driver in the Pharma space?
FOR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS
Better tools for continuing education. We’re all aware that HMOs are putting pressure on physicians to see more and more patients. And Pharma companies are cutting sales reps and physician education seminars, left, right and center. How can we better get physicians the information they need (and that we need them to have)? Is it online learning? Is it providing tools to streamline their office allowing them to focus more time on continuing education? How can we make their lives easier so that they are better informed and give the best possible treatments for the patients in their care?
Community, community and community. If Government doesn’t have the resources to educate them and Pharma companies are constrained from educating them, then let them educate themselves. And let’s give them the tools to do it. Let’s create non-profit organizations that are dedicated to giving patients Facebook templates, simple blogging tools, instruction and whatever else they need to build their “tribes”. And let’s have faith that a better informed consumer is a good thing for the Pharma industry. That knowing all their options will not only create better customers for the industry but also improve public perception of the industry as a whole.
I know I’m asking for a lot. But if we even get one of the things I’m asking for, Pharma will emerge as a much stronger and more stable industry in 2010.
What about you? What are your wishes for the Pharmaceutical industry in the coming year?