Pharma job security in 2013

Dear All,

just came across this from Luc De Langhe, nice analysis.
Merry Christmas

  1. Go to Switzerland  -  Each year some pharma companies move HQs (or at least a part of it) to Switzerland for tax reasons. Even if you lose your job there, you will have plenty of opportunity because this trend will go on for a while.
  2. Join a company with a healthy portfolio across all life cycle stages - Your best choice is a company with at least 2 promising compounds in phase 3 for diseases with a high unmet medical need, and with no blockbuster drug approaching its patent cliff.
  3. Beware of single-drug companies - Relying on the future sales of one single drug is quite risky in today’s market, with economies that are forced to make tough choices when deciding which new medicines to reimburse. If, however, it is a life-saving drug or one that dramatically increase the QALYs of treated patients vs. the current gold standard, it is worth going for it.
  4. Select a company where top management understands what is going on in the market. All too often I hear that good ideas and plans are blocked by marketing executives higher up in the hierarchy who still think pharmaceuticals can be launched the way they did it.
  5. Take a job in a function that the pharma industry is currently investing in: business development, licensing, market access, digital marketing, marketing of mature/established brands, emerging markets, etc.
  6. Last but not least: equip yourself with the new competencies that pharma companies need in today’s tough business environment. C.E.L.forpharma’s course topics (see below) address those needs and offer a unique opportunity to get face-to-face training by internationally acclaimed experts.
You have my very best regards and Season’s greetings – I hope that C.E.L.forpharma may contribute to your success in 2013!
Luc De Langhe
Co-founder and Managing Director


A new proposal for the evaluation of orphan drugs?

Dear All,
just read an interesting article: Paying for the Orphan Drug System: break or bend? Is it time for a new evaluation system for payers in Europe to take account of new rare disease treatments?

The authors propose an alternative methodology based on multiple criteria such as rarity, manufacturing complexity, availability of alternatives, disease severity, research undertaken and several others, given that most orphan drugs due to the higher price ranges hardly will meet the traditional cost-effectiveness thresholds imposed by various HTA agencies. Indeed the various countries are having different systems in order to evaluate orphan drugs, for example IQWIG in Germany sees the additional medical benefit as a given for orphan drugs while other authorities have different requirements regarding the need and scope of economic evaluations.  

I think this paper gives some very welcome alternatives as to what assessment criteria to be used. In my view it should ultimately be left with every EU member state, similar to what the authors proposed, to decide which is the best option for their respective healthcare system and assigning the monetary value they would like to place onto an evaluation rather than centralized purchasing procedures as once suggested. Orphan drugs, due to their limited and very specific patient population, are certainly best suited for innovative access agreements linked to real world evidence development in case of uncertainty at launch. 




Drug makers discount up to 50% to make it through NICE

Dear All,

just came across an interesting article from Bloomberg on NICE and the discounts offered by manufacturers to pass the cost-effectiveness criterion of the HTA agency in order to get recommended for reimbursement in the UK market.
Of course the confidential discounts offered are nothing new, perhaps the magnitude is surprising to some people not so familiar with the situation. My guess is the higher figures are related to the recent melanoma drugs. In any case I wonder if such articles trigger the desire by some governments of knowing the net prices again, especially those heavily relying on external price referencing.
Interesting also some views from Sir Michael Rawlings on VBP. I am not surprised that he doesn't expect too much difference. There has been a lot of talk about a VBP system, I also have done advisory boards in the past to understand the academic views and theoretical possibilities, but let's face it in order to practically operationalize such a system there are only a limited number of opportunities on the methodological side of things. I guess we are to find out soon what they have come up with.