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Archive for June, 2010

LinkedIn is a great networking tool that just keeps getting better every year. One nice feature is the ability to create “groups” (which can be either public or private) – we’ve assembled several for our pharma colleagues.

-> 1. The newest is Pharma Talent, for folks inside life sciences companies who have been displaced/downsized. Joining this group will bring you into contact with others who are also searching, and will also plug you into resources that will help your job hunt.

Who this group is for: displaced Life Sciences sales people, trainers, and marketers actively looking for new roles within similar companies (pharma, biotech, medical devices) in North America and Europe.

Who this group is NOT for: Vendors, recruiters, group badge collectors, trolls.

Sign up: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=3172022

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-> 2. At about 300 strong is Life Sciences Sales/Sales Training Network, for folks inside life sciences companies who are currently working on the commercial side (sales, marketing, training). Joining this group will bring you into contact with others like yourself in a wide variety of companies across the world.

Who this group is for: Life Sciences sales people, trainers, and marketers actively working inside companies that manufacture/market products for healthcare. The purpose is to provide an open and safe networking environment.

Who this group is NOT for: Vendors, recruiters, reporters, yak herders.

Sign up: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=997277

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-> 3. With about 250 members currently, the Life Sciences Vendor/Contractor Matchup is the group for all those companies (vendors, service providers, recruiters, contractors, SMEs, consultants) who need to find talent for their work. The goal here is to allow vendors to more easily find resources, employees, and partners to accomplish projects.

Who this group is for: Companies that provide services to life sciences manufacturing/marketing companies (worldwide).

Who this group is NOT for: Pharma company employees, ice cream truck drivers, moth collectors.

Sign up: http://www.linkedin.com/groups?gid=1433567

Yes, we do monitor these groups to make sure that those who apply actually belong, and yes, we regularly disallow or re-direct membership for those who don’t read the descriptions and directions (please save us all time by not trying to skate by – OK??)

All members of any of these groups is welcome to sign up to receive the (almost) daily Impactiviti Connection e-mail newsletter – just click here, put in your e-mail address, click Submit, and choose The Impactiviti Connection – you’ll get fresh news, resources, links, and items of interest in your Inbox each morning.

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For some time, I’ve been posting daily pharmaceutical industry news, resources, links of interest, jobs (+ some fun stuff!) here on the Impactiviti blog.

Now, we’re going to make it more convenient for you. We’ve merged Impactiviti Daily with the periodic Impactiviti e-newsletter to give you Impactiviti Connection – an (almost) daily collection of great stuff right to your e-mail inbox!

What’s it look like? Click here to view an on-line sample.

What do you need to do to receive it? Just enter your e-mail address here, Submit, and choose Impactiviti Connection. Done!

Each day will bring you news highlights, plus recommended resources, daily features, fun links – even a tasty picture.

Impactiviti Connection is powered by Constant Contact, so you can always very easily unsubscribe, change your e-mail address, or forward to colleagues.

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I recently had the pleasure of attending the annual Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers (SPBT) Conference in Orlando.

For those not involved in SPBT, this is a society made up of (sales) training professionals across the spectrum of pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies. While the conference structure has slightly morphed over time, it generally follows a pattern of featured keynotes in the morning, with various topical workshops during the rest of the day. The event runs from a Monday evening through Thursday morning, with peak attendance on Tuesday through mid-afternoon Wednesday. There is an exhibit hall of industry partners (vendors), of course, and evening events planned by the society and by various vendors.

I’ve been attending for about 14 years, and have seen the high points and the low points in the industry during that time. With all the recent mergers and the economic turmoil, this one had the potential to be a bit sparse, but a late boost in registrations pushed attendance over 500, which was encouraging for everyone involved.

Mike Capaldi of Sanofi-Aventis, currently serving as President of SPBT, did a fine job orchestrating the event (both beforehand and during), ably assisted by the staff who help plan and run the event each year. Circulating in the exhibit hall, I found a mixed-bag of reactions – some vendors were reporting excellent traffic, others were talking about molasses. That’s almost always the case, each year. I think it’s true that overall, the afternoon/evening social events in the exhibit area seem not to generate the kind of activity that used to be present 5-8 years ago. The seismic shifts in pharma, sales, and training continue.

I enjoyed the Tuesday morning keynote by Jim Craig, who was goalie of the “Miracle on Ice” 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team that won gold in Lake Placid against overwhelming odds. And I confess freely – since this was my favorite sports moment of all time, you could probably have put the puck on the podium and just replayed this documentary and I would have enjoyed it (also, I met my wife the summer beforehand in Lake Placid, so I really do have a soft spot for that whole complex of events!) To be honest, I thought Jim’s motivational speech was a bit canned, but it was effectively delivered, and he spent the rest of the day mingling with people, taking pictures, and signing autographs in the exhibit hall. That was cool.

The Thursday keynote was also notable, in that it was the first-ever effective use of social networking technology during a general SPBT session. Orchestrated by Karie Willyerd, who was once responsible for employee/customer/partner learning at Sun Microsystems, the session addressed the role of informal learning in the organization. The content was quite good, but best of all was the use of a technology called PollEverywhere, which allowed interactive audience polling via text message, Twitter, or web. I’m a big fan of interactive systems during a presentation, but find non-stop tweetstreams to be distracting, and proprietary systems to be a barrier to entry. Using what everyone has – a phone – was a great “intro” into social learning, especially for a session on…social learning!

The Wednesday keynote on Managing Energy (not time) by Jim Loehr was quite interesting and I’m digging further into the subject with a book his group (Human Performance Institute) has published on the subject. At first blush, I think they’re definitely onto something, and this presentation put into words a few themes that have swirled around in my head for some time but which never quite came into clear focus before.

There’s no good way to give a summary to the variety of workshops that was offered, because I was only able to attend one per time slot, and two of them I led or co-led. I did enjoy the interaction in my session on Five Ways Social Media will Shape Your Future in Pharma, and a smaller group of us had a lively discussion in the Strategic Sourcing workshop (team-led with some colleagues from Proficient Learning and Clearpoint Learning). Downloadable post-session resources (for anyone!) can be found here: http://bit.ly/socialrx, including a free e-book on Getting Started with Social Networking.

Having been on the vendor side for many years, I’m always very conscious of the facility – namely, the ease of navigating between general session rooms/breakout rooms/exhibit halls, overall “feel” (claustrophobic? open?), and general access to social diversions. In this respect, the Gaylord Palms was outstanding. The layout was straightforward, all the dimensions were “big” and roomy, and there was a nice variety of restaurants and shops. It would be a nice place to bring a family while attending a conference – highly recommended.

For me, though, this conference always boils down to the people – including valued clients with whom there is never enough face time. Breakfast with Bob Holliday. The annual smiles and greetings with Jim Trunick. Finally meeting Howard Hessel. Socializing with Dan Scott. Flying out on the same plane with John Sjovall. Seeing Norbert Stone in the break area between sessions. Renewing friendship with Dennis Martenz. Enjoying a breakfast roundtable on social networking with folks from Genentech. Rubbing shoulders and exchanging ideas with Tim Kern, Paige Billings, Bonnie Luizza, Mike Zdrojewski, John Constantine, Sue Iannone, Mike Meehan, John Dellaratta, Phil Sigler, Vicki Colman, DeWayne Mason, Neena Desai, John Riggle, Harry Murtaugh, Lynn DiBonaventura, Matt Hobbs, Dang Nam..and so many others.

Time in the exhibit hall, with many valued industry partners and friends, is always a delight. Getting up to date with colleagues from NxLevel Solutions (where my doppelganger resides), Pedagogue (need on-line testing? They’re your solution!), Proficient Learning (with much laughter over dinner), Campbell Alliance (the first ever indoor boat social event at SPBT!), CMR Institute (my secret source for Mill Mountain Coffee!), Clearpoint Learning (great red ties this year), IC Axon, Illuminate, Eagle Productivity, Yukon Group, Informa (always so gracious – even if I failed twice at the basketball contest), Taimma (so glad you brought on Bill Ahern!), Locus, Peloton (best little backpacks ever!), Noggin Labs, Strategic Outcomes, Velocity, TBA Global, and others.

Scott Sauve, Steve Sitek, Bob Rodman, Brian Fagan, and the rest of the SPBT team are to be congratulated for pulling off a fine event.

Many others will say that they have the best clients and partners. They’re lying. I do. Just saying…

(Here’s an idea for a format change I’d like to suggest, to make it easier for vendors to introduce themselves to the broadest possible audience. That would be a pay-to-play Pecha Kucha session between 2 main sessions, where, let’s say, 10 vendors get to present their work/value to the entire audience in the “20 images in 20 seconds format” (accompanied by highly distilled verbal description) – and let the audience vote on the best one. It would be a fun and engaging way to weave the vendors into the staged sessions, while providing a creative way to give a “taste” of solutions).

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TODAY’S NEWS:

Prostate cancer drug treatment (Sanofi) approved on the fast track. But – a warning flag for S-A about possible Lantus/cancer link.

Bayer and OncoMed to co-develop oncology drugs in new agreement.

Novartis‘ blood cancer drug Tasigna gets approval for earlier use with CML.

RECOMMENDED

SocialRx – pharma social media resources. A page full of goodies, newly updated from us here at Impactiviti. Enjoy!

PLUS

Sex pills for women. Count me among the skeptics. And, medical flops of the decade (from Forbes).

JUST FOR FUN

Just where in the world is that South Africa place??

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One of this week’s major news items in the world of pharma is the less-than-enthusiastic response of an FDA panel to Boehringer-Ingelheim’s experimental “sexual desire for women” pill, flibanserin.

I believe the quest for a “female Viagra” (an inaccurate parallel, by the way) is fundamentally misguided. Here’s why:

There’s a big difference between sexual function and sexual desire. Viagra does something that a pill can, in fact, do – impacts a physiological process. Erectile dysfunction is, in some cases, a medical problem that can be addressed with a medical solution.

But sex is not purely physical. And sexual desire is not some abstraction or isolated function that can be fixed by some sort of medical booster.

Yes, our bodies age and the physiological aspects of libido may be impacted. I’m not denying that. But can any pill really deal with the many elements that make up sexual desire, including:

- a loving relationship

- a climate of trust and freedom

- confidence and a sense of self-esteem

- personal attractiveness (and attracted-to-ness) on multiple levels

- hormonal fluctuations/levels

- physical function that allows fulfilling intercourse

And, in fact, are we even addressing the right question anyway with these proposed treatments? Should our focus be on creating/boosting a physiological desire for sex, or on making better relationships? Physiological aspects are a component of sexual desire…but are we going to keep medicalizing some things that are, to a large extent, simply part of a normal aging process?

I realize that there’s no money to be made by drug companies on the latter, but frankly, I’m forced to conclude that the whole exercise is a futile pursuit of profit at the expense of a healthier focus on the better relationships that will lead to better sex.

A pill is not a substitute for the genuine work of nurturing one’s mate so that a steady desire to please and be one with each other is a natural outgrowth. Viagra can make some things grow that forgot how. But I seriously doubt that any female Viagra will grow something as multi-faceted as sexual desire. Let’s go about curing real diseases.

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TODAY’S NEWS:

Boehringer‘s female sex pill: maybe not. The drug “failed to demonstrate a statistically significant improvement” in sexual desire, Food and Drug Administration staff said in a review released today. It was also linked to appendicitis, depression and loss of consciousness. Side effects led about 15 percent of women to stop treatment with the drug, the review saidmore

What is Eli Lilly paying laid-off workers? This (interesting chart).

Pharma mergers – do they really deliver on efficiencies? Interesting summary.

Sanofi-Aventismore cuts, but future expansion. I’ll leave the math to you!

RECOMMENDED

Any kind of pharma training. Our business at Impactiviti is partnering with the best vendors for all aspects of training, and then helping you identify the best one(s) for your needs.  Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) to discuss your needs, and we’ll make recommendations (yes, the service is free!)

PLUS

Marketers must embrace the connected patient. Amen.

JUST FOR FUN

Starbucks to begin sinister Phase Two of operations. Funny goodness from The Onion, America’s Finest News Source. :>}

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Subscribe to the Impactiviti blog via e-mail (which will bring you Impactiviti Daily – a brief of the day’s top pharma news)

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TODAY’S NEWS:

Cheap drug could be a life-saver – A cheap drug that can stop bleeding in recently injured accident patients could potentially save the lives of tens of thousands worldwide, a new study says. Researchers studied the effects of tranexamic acid, or TXA, in more than 10,000 adult trauma patients in 40 countries who received the drug within 8 hours of being injured. They compared those patients’ outcomes to more than 10,000 accident victims who got a placebo treatment. The study was published online Tuesday in the medical journal Lancetmore

Pfizer ends development of one experimental RA drug from Trubion; keeps another one going.

Glaxo gets FDA OK for combo prostate treatment.

Human Genome Sciences: low expectations for Hepatitis C drug approval.

Judge to Abbott: Pay reps overtime.

RECOMMENDED

Social Media 101/201. Here at Impactiviti, we’re immersed in both social media and pharma. We’re happy to provide on-site workshops for our clients who need to bring sales/marketing/training/executive teams up to speed on Trends in Social Media.  Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for details.

PLUS

Fresh updates to the astonishingly helpful Dose of Digital Social Media (Pharma/Healthcare) Wiki. And, a little thought-provoking tidbit: The Red Pill or the Blue Pill?

JUST FOR FUN

Nature’s Patterns in Photography. Sheer eye candy.

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Subscribe to the Impactiviti blog via e-mail (which will bring you Impactiviti Daily – a brief of the day’s top pharma news)

Visit the Impactiviti Job Board

Sign up for the Impactiviti Connection twice-monthly e-newsletter (see sample)

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