Acronym of the week would be more accurate, but GDUFA will be used as a word so it might as well be defined as one. With the passage of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act on July 9, 2012, GDUFA (‘Generic Drug User Fee Amendments...
Working to Support Communications in pharmEmerging Markets: What Does the Near Future Hold for Us – Death or Glory?
by Alexander Watson, Director, Healthcare
worked for 15 exciting, tough years in the PR agency
worl d supporting Big Pharma global communications in core markets I have felt my heart harden. I have also fashioned for my mind resilient armour that accepts the challenges of change and the breakneck pace of this amazing business environment. I can see, however, that our next five years look set to be truly turbulent times.
Only proactive and passionate communication leaders who can confidently navigate a clear path through this storm will win. Our clients are often asked to tighten purse strings. While we are called to work smarter in order to invest in much needed reconnaissance to help us shape new communications strategies and train our teams to meet the changing needs of our clients. Those who do not have an appetite for change may soon find themselves as stuffed exhibits in their local natural history museums.
As the cold winds of recession cut icily through the industry, Pharma giants continue to reduce workforces while sharing promises of freshly focused R&D strategies and new plans for change and growth. Communications departments at Big Pharma, for whom we work, have not been immune to this latest blight. Indeed many have just come through the last merger and restructuring. Our in-house colleagues are keeping a keen ear to the ground, listening out for rumours of which new doors will be opening and which communication roles are being marked for pending closure or overhaul.
Patent cliffs loom high in this seemingly barren land, warm summer nights of giant blockbuster launch PR plans are long gone, and key wire journalists now report on the ravages of western pricing pressures forcing further consolidation and reshaping of the pharma landscape.
Emerging markets have now become a hot topic to communicate for growth strategies in the pharmaceutical companies we serve. With these countries showing exciting growth rates, soaring incomes and political reforms we are starting to see these promising early green shoots break through for new communication roles. Pharma companies are needing to speak up as they jostle for pole position in emerging market league tables that are being drawn up to report on the winners and losers in this latest race – more communications managers are needed. In-house communication pioneers are being rapidly commissioned to report on the latest successful ventures from new business fronts from around the world. Pharma companies are confidently promising that significant percentages of their revenue will be coming from these markets by as soon as 2013. Reaching far beyond the BRIC nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China), communications now busily chatter of acquisitions and alliances, strategies for delivering generics to replace their well known brands, manufacturing opportunities and challenges and the amassing of PhD brains in new centres of R&D excellence in distant lands.
How are we to respond as global PR agencies with a passion for healthcare communications? We cannot afford to procrastinate - this is the time for decision making. Are we tracking the emerging market news day in day out? Are we reaching out to new client leads? What insights and teams must we be able to deliver to meet these needs? Are we prepared to capitalize on these new opportunities for issues management teams skilled in both corporate and pharma communications?
Clients will want strategies that have been crafted from insights that have come from on the ground knowledge and wisdom in these new markets. How will we build stronger relationships and stronger scientific knowledge bases with our PR colleagues on the ground in these emerging markets across our network? Can we bring them to bear on these new communications challenges? Can our Global Media Network (GMN) be leveraged to help clients deliver news stories by quickly mobilising its members around the globe? Can we showcase our expert regional knowledge and articulate how rapidly evolving digital technologies and appetites for news in these countries are shaping up?
For me at the ripe old PR age of 43, it really is - death or glory in 2011. Either I help build new offerings, integrate digital and social media strategies, rally teams to conduct reconnaissance into these new opportunities in emerging markets or I go on delivering core market communications and gradually watch the tide go out.
We capture the opinions and insights of several of our employees on a variety of communication topics about Healthcare.