Pharmaceutical Commerce at 10

May 6, 2015
Nicholas Basta

Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Commerce - May/June 2015,

I get impatient with my writers who sometimes start articles with events that occurred in 1995 or 1985 or even 1875—I love histories, but Pharmaceutical Commerce is not a place to go to for the history of most anything. Nevertheless, I do want to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the publication you’re holding in your hands right now. Made it this far—whew!

The cover reproduction from May/June 2005 you see here presents topics that we were staking out as part of the overall logic of Pharmaceutical Commerce: to cover the issues, technologies and business practices that affect the movement of biopharma products into the marketplace. Since the beginning, we’ve hewed to every-issue coverage of six specific categories:

  • Business/Finance: M&A activity, financial services and the CFO perspective on company revenue and expenses. A key element of this is how biopharma interacts with its trading partners—wholesaler/distributors, retail pharmacy, health systems and payers
  • Brand Communications: Sales, marketing, advertising, promotion and the resources (online and offline) to reach prescribers and patients
  • Supply Chain/Logistics: The physical movement of products from place of manufacture to place of dispensing, which can reach as far back as contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) and as far forward as the patient’s home. And we’ve carved out regular coverage of cold chain practices and traceability in the supply chain
  • Information Technology: All things IT, ranging from cloud-based computing to social-media “listening,” as well as basic functionalities in analytics, IT validation and data exchange
  • Legal/Regulatory: All things FDA, plus legal practices in trade, financial services, intellectual property and professional practices
  • Manufacturing/Packaging: We don’t cover the shop floor, per se, but we do cover how packaging interconnects with marketing, distribution channels and product security, and how pharma brand owners connect with their contractors.

A more recent addition—a testament to the growing overlap between drug research, personalized medicine and commercialization—is Clinical Operations, where we look at the mechanics of running trials, recruiting patients and reporting meaningful results.

Or, succinctly: Pharmaceutical Commerce covers the flow of funds, goods and information between biopharma companies and their markets and clients. Another theme that we harp on, throughout our coverage, is breaking down the silos between each of these functional areas and the rest. The biopharma industry has gotten better at this, but it’s still all too often the case that marketing doesn’t know what IT is doing; IT doesn’t know what Regulatory is doing, and executive management struggles to obtain meaningful information in all these functional areas. Our ideal reader is someone in one of these functional areas who wants to keep tabs on what’s going on in all the others.

Back in 2005, our headline topics for the inaugural issue were “Fee for Service”—the shift from straight transactional interactions between manufacturers and distributors to collaborative, service-oriented interactions; “Parenteral Packaging”—the business dynamics of how injectable products are packaged; and “Sales Force Automation” (which, quaintly, was only anticipating the shift first to smartphones and then to tablets).

With this issue, we’re looking at brand security and product traceability, through our annual Product Security Report; the dynamics of the oncology market; and compliance packaging, which increasingly influences such vital topics as patient adherence to therapy. You’ll find news and analysis of many other topics in this issue; again, think of the flow of funds, products and information.

About half of you, our valued subscribers, are reading these words by holding the printed page in your hands; we remain committed to the print medium based on feedback from subscribers. But this is a digital age; we’ve steadily upgraded our digital capabilities and expect to do more in the near future.

Finally, I want to heartily thank our writers that help us expand and deepen our coverage; our advertisers and business partners, whose support is fundamental to our ability to produce this publication; and our readers and fans, who continually challenge us and win our admiration for the stunning accomplishments of this industry. In my inaugural editorial, I noted that while the cost, innovativeness and efficacy of biopharma products are endlessly debated, in the ultimate analysis, it is helping all of us live longer, healthier lives. That continues today—this is an industry that never stands still.