I’m writing this blog post out of loyalty to all my former Client-side colleagues who are currently caught in the patient-centricity paradox. They dare not speak of it. Openly questioning the patient centricity paradox will surely only hasten one’s demise within a pharmaceutical or biotechnology company. What is this paradox that I speak of?
The patient-centricity paradox, simply put, is when the CEO’s heart wants the organization to be more patient centric, but existing MLR (medical/legal/regulatory) review processes are almost diametrically opposed to this goal. The resulting friction puts even the bravest marketer in a quandary.
CEOs from Joe Jimenez of Novartis to Angus Russell of Shire have openly spoken about changing the staid way pharmaceutical companies operate and have even added senior level talent from consumer-goods businesses to jumpstart the focus on the patient. The plain fact of the matter is that this spirit of innovation and putting the patient first is not trickling down to the inner workings of executive or Brand MLR teams.
Watching brave pharmaceutical marketers attempt to innovate in concept only to get shredded by MLR reminds me of trench warfare from WWI – brave men valiantly jumping up behind the safety of trenches only to face sudden death from the machine gunners lying in wait.
The messages that Mr. Jimenez, Mr. Russell, and others deliver ring true to this marketer. I only suggest that they win over the corporate ‘mind’ internally, before taking the message public.