Thomas Senderovitz

Executive Vice President, Grunenthal GmbH

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What does the Pharmaceutical Industry need to do to truly bring better medicines to patients?

The pharmaceutical industry is facing a challenge of huge dimensions: While continuing to invest more and more in R&D every year, the output remains flat - at best. This is of course not sustainable. Thus, I want to start a conversation on: What should the industry really do to move to the next level? How can we bring better medicines to patients in need? What do we need to change?

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    Dec 13 2011: Universities are non-for-profit - no real medicines have come out so far.
    So - just to be clear: It is not ok to earn money on healthcare? No rich physicians? Pharmacists? Medical technology investors/managers? Incl. iPhone which today is one of the biggest selling medical devices?
    No private hospitals?

    I would like tosee some scientific ideas as well. I feel the comments have been more political statements, which is of course ok, but no real ideas on how to increase innovaiton.
    • Dec 14 2011: A bit more to the point: Could innovation be increased if the pharmacutical companies combined their reseach? If each company researched a single field, would that not increase innovation as they are not researching the same thing? ie: they become more specialised
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        Dec 14 2011: A good point, and this is to some extent happening through partnerships. It is much linked to the principles of Open Innovaiton. Examples are regular drug discobvery partnerships, but also the very big IMI initiative in Europe is a good example of joined pharma/academia collaboration. I wouldn't say we are there yet, though.
        Of course several quesitons arise: Do we have to re-think the entire IP system, which in many ways drives value?
  • Dec 10 2011: I think the Pharmacutical companies should be goverment or charity run to take out the hunt for profits. This greed for greater profits is what is slowing down the effective medicines. Pharmacutical companies are most interested in a medcine that is necessary, costs a lot and only supresses the symptoms rather than curing the disease. It means more profits.
    If they were not interested in profits, almost all R&D would go into replecating the placebo effect on all patients. Imagine if all you needed to cure anything was a sugar pill. Thats a pharmacutial companies worst nightmare.
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    Dec 15 2011: Streamline... As all corporations do in times of difficult political climate... Let more doctors sell your drugs cheaper, by cutting your advertising budget, and perks. Short term loss, long term win, develop a reputation for providing affordable products by cutting overhead.

    Work on PR... How? Get out of child psychology... No one really understands childhood brain development and the effects of chemicals on that development... No one likes child psychiatry, stop selling kids drugs, and you'll be easier to defend in court. If a corporation isn't making designer drugs, to manipulate the attitudes of children, they are much easier to sympathize with, let the other companies do it, and watch them fall.

    Don't create diseases, just to cure symptoms. Let the other companies do that, and watch them lose lawsuits. Fix problems people actually have. Fight the government publicly, when you're right to do so. The one thing pharmaceutical companies could get a lot of sympathy from the general public on, is "Why can't you buy cough medicine, or headache medicine that actually makes you feel better anymore?"

    Write a bill to make real cough syrup again, because there aren't that many drug addicts, and they'll find another way to get high. Be a bit vocal, when you actually get legitimately screwed over by legislation, but stop being vocal when Phen Phen kills people. Admit mistakes, and look for solutions, but try to create a business model that is easy to sympathize with, get out of the business of selling children psychiatric medication... It's called being a kid... We need to learn to be parents again.
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    Dec 15 2011: Be honest.
  • Dec 14 2011: I would have to say the pharmaceutical industries need to start to be mindful of the citizens needs versus their own, this includes a better understanding of holistic approaches to "medication"....they have come up with short term solutions for generations. What about long term solutions?
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    Dec 14 2011: you say the deveolpment of new medicines is a heavily regulated area-- enlight me. what types of regulations do you encounter?
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    Dec 13 2011: Be not for profit organizations.
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    Dec 11 2011: It would be much better to nationalize the Pharmaceutical Industry and associate them with the universties everywhere.
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      Dec 10 2011: Hmmm . . . so down on such an important industry. R&D is expensive, as are frivolous lawsuits for which the costs must be passed on. Regulations are onerous. Competition is stiff. I think perhaps we could cut them a little slack. There are a whole lot of people who are better off because of this industry.
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        Dec 11 2011: Thanks. I fully agree. While i am aware of the bad reputation, to a large degree also self-inflicted, development of new medicines is really a heavily regulated area. And trust me, a lot of highly professional scientists who do not think about profit, bit atre truly driven by the urge to discover and develop better treatments are struggling these years. I am looking for ideas to improve innovation - and new ways to accelerate and improve development.
        • Dec 13 2011: To improve development nationalise and/or turn to non profit. I mean there is no need to make billionares from people needing healthcare. If funding is the problem, cut out the people at the top and give that money to R&D. Non for profit does not mean medicine will be free, it means that nobody will become rich from it. Im sure that the scientists that want to develop new medicines would support that idea.

          I mean, if one of them came up with a cure for astma, then the pharmacutical companies would supress that idea as it means losing a LOT of profits, as people only have to buy it once. Profits going into their back pockets and researching something that supresses symptoms, not curing the disease. The scientists would have a lot more freedom if it were a non profit organisation.