jueves, 17 de enero de 2013

Joe Jimenez/CEO Novartis: "...more money on R&D and less on sales and marketing"

Swiss drug maker Novartis AG is struggling with a raft of challenges, shared across the industry. Its best-selling drug Diovan, which treats high blood pressure, has lost patent protection and the number of new products coming out of its labs seems too small to offset the sales lost to cheaper copycat products. Making matters worse, cash-strapped governments in Europe are negotiating hard to keep a lid on prices.

So it is probably a good thing that Joseph Jimenez, who took over as CEO in 2010, thrives on competition. Trained as a competitive swimmer during his university years, the 51-year-old American enjoys a fast-paced environment. His previous experience in the consumer goods industry, including H.J. Heinz Co., also came in handy for the top job at Novartis. Mr. Jimenez, who had no scientific background when he started, took a crash course on the pharmaceutical business, sitting down every morning with company scientists to learn about Novartis's drugs, their discovery and development, and the diseases they treat

  • The industry needs to spend more money on R&D and less on sales and marketing.
  • People would spend time writing very large Power Point presentations rather than talking to payers or helping regulators understand what we were doing at Novartis.
  • I really believe that in the future, companies like Novartis are going to be paid on patient outcomes as opposed to selling the pill.
  • We don't stop delivery of lifesaving drugs, but price cuts create a disincentive for us to build sales force.
  • We are looking at traditional growth markets like China, Russia, Brazil and India. But we also believe that Africa, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, is going to be a very strong growth market. Maybe not in the next five years but five to 15 years.

A version of this article appeared January 2, 2013, on page B5 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: At Novartis, the Pill Is Just Part of the Pitch.

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