jueves, 4 de febrero de 2010

BIG PHARMA: Change...? Yes we change.

  By Peter Loftus

The recent CEO change at drug maker Novartis AG (NVS) continues a generational turnover among pharmaceutical industry leaders - and there are likely to be more changes soon.

Merck & Co. (MRK) Chief Executive Richard Clark will turn 65 years old in March 2011, reaching the drug maker's mandatory retirement age, and his replacement could be announced this year. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (BMY) CEO James Cornelius is 66, and industry insiders say they wouldn't be surprised if he leaves that post in the near future.

Following Novartis' transition, any changes at Merck and Bristol - and possibly elsewhere - would nearly complete a leadership turnover across Big Pharma that kicked into gear in the mid-2000s. Pfizer Inc. (PFE), GlaxoSmithKline PLC (GSK), Sanofi-Aventis SA (SNY), AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) and Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) all have gotten new chiefs since 2005.

The new leaders are taking over an industry under pressure. The past decade has brought heightened scrutiny of drug safety, government probes of sales and marketing practices, and greater pricing pressure from drug-benefit plans and generic competitors. Drug makers feel compelled to control costs and do more to get results from the billions of dollars they pour into their research labs.

"The executives growing up in the industry now are doing so in an environment that is radically different than what I grew up in, in the '80s and early '90s," said Robert Essner, who served as Wyeth's CEO from 2001 through 2007, and now teaches health-care marketing and management at Columbia Business School. "It's a much tougher environment. It's in some ways a more punishing one, more cost-conscious and productivity-oriented."

The newer leaders may be more accepting of the changed environment than their predecessors, and readier to deal with it, he said. (Más...no te quedes sin leer el resto.)

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