News of the Week: Pharma special

Every week we look at the top news affecting leaders within the industries we operate in. This week it’s the turn of pharma, so we’ve pulled together the top stories, reports and opinion pieces that have sparked discussion in the Lightbulb Leadership Solutions offices.

Donald Trump's election to trigger new era of pharma mega-mergers

The Telegraph

Winning the ultimate leadership race, Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States sent shockwaves around the world, and in turn brought some positive news for the pharmaceutical sector. Analysts have predicted that Trump entering the White House will lead to a new era of mega-mergers in pharma. The reason for this? Trump has pledged to cut corporation tax for American companies and suggested that he could allow businesses to repatriate money earned overseas back into the US without having to pay hefty fines. This potential influx of foreign cash and improved stock valuations under the Trump administration will likely be the catalyst for improved dealmaking in the industry.

This is great news for pharma leaders who put deals on the backburner in recent months and presents the ideal opportunity for you to look inwards at your organisation. Whether you’re planning to buy or sell, now is the time for you to look at your people and processes to gear up for what might well be an exciting and prosperous 2017.

GSK tops list of drug firms improving global access to medicine

The Guardian

We would like to congratulate GlaxoSmithKline for coming top of the Access to Medical foundation’s league table, which monitors the availability of medicine in developing countries. Fellow UK drugmaker AstraZeneca also made the list at number seven, proving that our pharma industry is one to truly be proud of. While this is great news all round for UK pharma, it’s not the reason this particular story got us talking. We were particularly interested in the aspects these companies are measured on in order to achieve their ranking, including:

  • Willingness to discount prices in poor countries

  • Research on neglected tropical diseases

  • Lobbying

  • Patent policies

  • Breaches of codes of conduct

  • Corruption or bribery

  • Transparency and conduct in clinical trials.

Aside from the factors organisations are measured on for this particular list, there is a multitude of wider challenges that pharma leaders must deal with on a daily basis, including shrinking R&D budgets, a weak economy, global competition and rapid advances in technology – a recipe that would challenge even the most seasoned leadership teams. As pharma continues on its path of globalisation it will attract more eyes upon it and the pressure will only increase to ensure they remain as close to the top of lists such as this one in the future.  

And finally…

Sore throats to be tested by pharmacists instead of GPs under NHS move

The Guardian

A new NHS initiative that will see sore throat sufferers visit their pharmacist instead of their GP for an on-the-spot test to see if they need antibiotics has received a mixed response. The planned walk-in service will be rolled out across the country over the next 12 months following a six-month pilot project. The idea is that it will relieve some of the pressure GPs face as well as tackle antibiotic resistance. Currently, around 1.2 million people visit their GP with sore throat symptoms every year and the scheme stands to reduce this by as many as 800,000, saving the health service £35m a year.  

However, not everyone has welcomed the idea. Guardian contributor and GP Margaret McCartney expressed her opinion: “The scheme may actually put more demand on the NHS, fragmenting services but without improving care. More than half of the patients in the study said that if the pilot had not been available, they would either have done nothing or treated themselves without assistance. This, if true, meant that antibiotics were subsequently used just because the scheme was there.”

Not only this, we’ve been speaking to our partners in pharma who sit in the supply chain for these antibiotics who have expressed that they remain in the dark as to how this initiative will ultimately affect them.

What do you think of this new scheme? We’d love to get your thoughts on this or any of the news topics we’ve discussed today. Stay tuned to our blog and social media channels for our regular news updates covering a wide range of industries. If you have any questions or want to find out more about us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Lightbulb Leadership Solutions team today.  

Fiona McKay