Health care expert and all-round wonderful person Jane Sarasohn-Kahn of Think-Health has some added thoughts about what’s likely to be happening inside the pharma industry to deal with the "pipeline problem" discussed in this recent post. Jane suggests you keep your eye on three related developments:
1. A lot more co-marketing agreements between pharmas (a la Bayer and GSK’s venture into Levitra, Viagra’s competitor for the moment)
2. Pharmas are looking to biotech for new formulations, but they’re also looking to smaller pharmas too for licensing deals. This will be important over the next few years. Obviously, biotech will be important in the longer term, but the juries are still out on so many very expensive drugs. We will be hitting the wall on who is going to pay for those expensive bio drugs, and I anticipate that will be a big area of contention. It’s not clear really who will be willing to pay for innovation.
3. We can’t switch too many more drugs to OTC as allergy and GI were the low hanging fruit here. We’ll get a bit more savings out of switches, but then you get into another category of drugs that really does require professional input — depression/mental health, migraine, anti-infectives (gotta watch out for resistance there and over-indulging the paeds population whose mothers aren’t patient enough when it comes to ‘watchful waiting’ over ear infections), cancer, HIV/AIDS, etc.