Reinvent your company through culture

by News

Lessons from pharma transformations back in the 2000s

Big pharma went through an unprecedented wave of transformations in the 2000s.

As a result of a decade-long commercial arms race, and successive massive mergers, many of top 10 pharmaceutical leaders found themselves in the same predicament: large primary care sales forces attempting to deliver 60-second details to primary care doctors with little patience for another repetitive message, accompanied by the necessary box of donuts for the staff to enjoy.

At the same time, clinical trial and regulatory approval costs were sky-rocketing, and R&D pipelines starting to dry up.

Many organizations found themselves in a state of disbelief and denial. It is in this context that aggressive leaders like Fred Hassan at Schering-Plough emerged, challenging the industry to reinvent itself. Change rippled through the industry in various forms: aggressive cost reduction across the value chain, new commercial models acknowledging the growing role of patients and payors, creative in-licensing and co-promotion deals…

But did the industry have the talent and the culture required to succeed in the new world?

Back in 2013, Fred Hassan wrote a short and to the point piece outlining his learnings on cultural transformations in large scale organizations – Read Mr. Hassan’s HBR contribution here