Health economics blog - 2011 round up

Dear Readers,

first of all I would like to wish everyone a happy and successful 2012! This is also a good opportunity to look back - I wanted to do this earlier but with the usual year end stuff and Christmas etc I didn't manage -  and especially thank you for the comments, discussions, helpful links etc throughout 2011. It has been a good year, we hit the 10.000 page views a month in June and also more than 500 regular followers, so I thank you for your continued interest.

It has been a turbulent year in the industry without any doubt. It is not easy to keep up with the daily news flow and to pick the interesting and important things. In that regard I am delighted that my last blog entry about new market access models created so much attention, I guess that shows the topic is on most people's mind and many of you strongly agreed with the majority of points. I guess the challenge remains to put thoughts into practice and become lean and agile. Anyhow the article has been reposted by eyeforpharma.com, healtheconomics.com as well as by The Healthcareblog and I have received a lot of good words for that piece.

It has been the year of reforms and cost containments and the news flow continues in the new year with new pressures in Portugal (always a problem child) as well the Czech Republik -  someone there announced that the Ministry plans to introduce formal cost effectiveness assessments (already done to some extent) as of 2013.  I had hoped they would learn from the mistakes somewhere else and wouldn't go the same way but I suppose everyone needs to make their own mistakes first before understanding that cost-effectiveness analysis doesn't solve the issues at hand.

It has also been the year of generics, in that regard I had a little deja vu experience when Pfizer announced the own marketing of a generic version of Lipitor.  I remember sitting one morning in the worldwide team meeting at Pfizer's 42nd street NY headquarters and responding just that when we were asked to think about generic life cycle management: "sell the generic stuff yourself". I still remember the outcast looks I earned for that comment, mind you it was 2004/5 when things still looked more bullish in pharma world. But to me that seemed and still is the most logical thing to do, as others such as Novartis have already been doing, instead of the useless differentiation efforts - at least in the small molecule arena. There prices go only into one direction - down, there is no magic, no big strategy the main decision is how much and how fast and until what level the originator would like to compete. I always called this, using a military term, an "organized retreat".  Biosimilars on the other hand might be another story, here - and I remember that well from my vaccine time - quality in manufacturing etc matters tremendously and not every company has the capability to produce good and consistent lots.

All in all however with a still weak economy in most parts of Europe pricing pressures will continue to mount throughout 2012.

So what else was going on? With your help we completed the first compensation survey, which was a good success. Many of you emailed me and should I have forgotten to answer some requests please remind me again.

We (Olivier Ethgen and I) have also taken on the challenging task to put together a book on the future of health economics. Have a look at the link and let me know if there are any interesting topics that you think are worth exploring or of anyone would like to contribute a chapter. We have already a good draft of potential chapters and will try to cover new stuff as well as spend some time on organizational matters around market access etc.

Last but not least most of us start the new year with a whole lot of new ideas and principles and stop, start continue considerations. Well my 'magic' word for 2012 is Prioritization. I feel I spent far too much time on things that didn't really matter in the big scheme of things, so lets see how I do this year. Steve jobs famous words from the Stanford graduation speech come to mind: reminding one selves (without being overly dramatic of course) of the finity of life helps doing the right things and stop wasting time. So for example, before we write yet another useless email cc ing the world, we should think about if that really is required...or if that personal chat or phone call isn't simple the better thing to do ;)

Wishing everyone a great year and looking forward to hearing from you!


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