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Posts Tagged ‘Merck’

I recently had a wonderful conversation with a smart professional in our industry whom I’ve known for years, Kari Gearhart. Kari had a long career in commercial pharma (much of it with Merck), and was heavily involved in many facets of corporate training during that time.

karigBut, as she started to look ahead at new career options – either within the industry, or potentially after retirement – she realized the importance of expanding her network. Not only within the narrower circle of her company or industry, but also in other areas of professional and personal interest.

Kari and I had a number of talks over the years about these transitions, and when she was ready to retire from Merck, she had created a robust network of other people who shared her interest in professional development. This led to a board member position within the Healthcare Business Women’s Association (HBA); strategic alliances (and referral relationships) with like-minded others; and an opportunity to build her own consulting practice. An important part of this transition was to create the space and the time to pursue her passion in women’s leadership development and in particular a program called Fit-to-Lead that she co-developed with a colleague. The program focuses on making the connection between taking on a significant fitness challenge (e.g. Triathlon), and leadership growth.

According to Kari, it was the outside volunteering opportunities (through HBA and other groups) that led to the most fruitful connections as she planned out the next phase of her professional and personal life. Many of us, as we get older, begin to pay more attention to “legacy passions” brewing within us – those things that we want to accomplish which may have little to do with the next step on the corporate ladder. Kari’s desire to impact others compelled her to start exploring these new avenues, even as she continued her work at Merck.

One of the joys of her current status is that Kari now has more room to explore, to be open-minded, and to let opportunities take shape at a more organic pace. Her “master plan” during this phase of her life has lots of flexibility built into it, and many of those avenues of exploration come via her growing network.

Careful financial planning and long-term thinking about how she wanted to evolve into new opportunities kept Kari from being lost in the cold after leaving corporate life, a fate which befalls many who retire or are involuntarily downsized. In fact, within days of catching up with Kari, I sat down with a gentleman whose many years in the industry came to an abrupt end, and he had to ruefully admit that he had not pro-actively built a wide network ahead of time, or explored other potential options before being suddenly set adrift.

Kari and I concluded our talk with several summary points for all of our colleagues to consider:

  • Build a broad network NOW, before you need it (hint: some of your best potential contacts will be on the vendor side; in adjacent roles/companies; and in volunteer roles). Connect to, and cultivate, pro-active networkers.
  • Talk to people who can help you think differently. If need be, do some strengths assessments and hire a professional coach for a season.
  • Get in touch with your legacy passions. What do you want to accomplish in your latter years? How can you plan backwards from that future to make it happen?

I will add this, from my experience – making weak ties with hundreds of people (such as LinkedIn connections) cannot hold a candle to cultivating strong ties with a handful of smart, pay-it-forward people. They are the ones who will go to bat for you and make things happen. Successful networking is not merely a numbers game – it’s primarily about quality and authenticity.

There is no corporate safety net anymore, right? Start building your own opportunity network.

More in the Impactiviti Interview series:

Training Journey – From Major Pharma to Startup

Training for the New World of Specialty Pharma

Becoming a Consultant – Should You?

Two Keys to Successful Product Launches

Clinical Training Innovation at Depomed

Development of Field Leadership at Gilead Sciences – “Touchpoints”

Lessons from the Dark Side

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TODAY’S NEWS

Sanofi taking a heavy dice-roll on Multaq: 11,000-patient trial on expanded use.

A glimpse into Merck‘s late-stage pipeline. Very diverse group of molecules and conditions. Here’s an interesting little extra on the cholesterol drug.

FDA launches 1-800-TATTLE: The FDA is asking healthcare professionals to keep an eye out for violative promotion and to call 1-877-RX-DDMAC or emailing badad@fda.com when they see itmore

Pfizer: NYC layoffs and relos, plus selling a midtown building. And, late-breaking, Takeda also embarking on major cuts.

The VA about to tighten the rules on drug sales rep interactions. Part of a nationwide trend.

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PLUS

So…who’s been doing the best Social Media in Pharma? The new Dosie Award winners were announced live at the BDI Social Communications in Healthcare event yesterday.

JUST FOR FUN

Sunsets. Nice.

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COMING UP SOON: BDI’s Social Communications and Healthcare half-day gathering. NYC, May 11 – all details here. I will be leading a roundtable. Use discount code IMPACT for $155 registration rate.

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TODAY’S NEWS

Allergan – Rolling high-stakes legal dice re: Botox. Here and here.

Novo’s Victoza: nice results in comparison with Merck‘s Januvia. Plus, an experimental Januvia competitor gets dropped by Forest Labs.

Experimental once-a-day malaria drug looking really good – An experimental once-a-day malaria drug worked as well at treating the mosquito-borne illness as Novartis AG’s twice-daily pill Coartem, according to a study published today in the journal Lancetmore

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Surround Yourself with Smart People.

JUST FOR FUN

Serene Sunrises. 40. A visual treat.

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TODAY’S NEWS

Great news for hepatitis C treatment (and Vertex) – Adding the investigational drug telaprevir to standard treatment for hepatitis C infection cures about half the patients willing to give therapy a second try. That compares to a cure rate of just 14 percent among those who were retreated with the standard regimen, according to researchers at the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI)more

Teva gets approval to market generic versions of two key Merck cardio drugs (Cozaar and Hyzaar).

Sanofi makes a long-term investment into a cool-sounding diabetes treatment (pre-Phase 1).

Is Nuvaring a pinata for plaintiff’s attorneys? – Merck’s Nuvaring contraceptive appears to be headed for the same fate as Bayer’s Yaz pill and Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Evra contraceptive patch: It’s becoming a pinata for plaintiffs’ lawyers who allege the device is more dangerous than older, equally effective products on the marketmore

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eMarketing/PR– We can recommend best-in-class partners/agencies for your needs.  Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for recommendations.

PLUS

Social Media – Nine things Pharma should learn about Social Media from Dennis Urbaniak (of Sanofi-Aventis US). And, the finalists for the first Dosie Awards are announced.

JUST FOR FUN

Did you know that Niagara Falls once ran dry? True!

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TODAY’S NEWS

Big approval news for Gilead Sciences Gilead Sciences Inc., the world’s largest maker of HIV treatments, won U.S. approval of an inhaled antibiotic for lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients. The Food and Drug Administration cleared sales of the medicine, given the brand name Cayston, the company said today in a statement. Outside advisers to the FDA backed the product’s safety and effectiveness in a 15-2 vote on Dec. 10more

What is the future of “personalized medicine”? Probably, it’ll look a lot like this (encouraging story from NY Times). Plus, in a cooperative effort, Eli Lilly, Merck and Pfizer have formed an independent, not-for-profit company Asian Cancer Research Group (ACRG) to accelerate research and ultimately improve treatment for patients affected with the most commonly-diagnosed cancers in Asiamore

Of course, in this industry, there is often a mix of good news and bad – and “bad” usually means bad behavior by people who love dollars above sense: lack of openness at AZ?; secret tapes and GSK (plus, a “fixer” who spiked research?); research fraud by rogue doc; kickbacks and J&J; risk of depression assessment and Eli Lilly (are you alive? then you’re at risk!!!). Reminds me of some prior posts on the Gold-in Rule

Novartis looking to expand even more at East Hanover campus. Including themed food venues!

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PLUS

I’m feeling much safer now. FDA finally comes out against “ear candling“! Next up, perhaps – a prohibition of USB-to-nasal-passage uploads??

JUST FOR FUN

Delightful (and BIG) pictures from Vancouver Olympics. Love the colors in the very first one. From Boston.com’s very nice The Big Picture section.

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TODAY’S NEWS

Pfizer and Merck top sales forces, and overcharging New York.

Harrison Ford and a movie about a biotech company. Not the next Avatar with ticket sales, apparently.

Big Pharma’s messy pipeline.

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Simulations for training – “Live” simulations or eLearning experiences – our preferred partners can provide what you need. Contact us (stevew at impactiviti dot com, or phone at 973-947-7429) for recommendations.

PLUS

Corporate cultures: Some for Fun and Fun for Some – in which I take on the Grinch and Harvard Business Review! :>}

JUST FOR FUN

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TODAY’S NEWS

Merck losing Temodar patent battle with Teva – A federal court judge ruled Tuesday that a patent for Merck & Co. Inc.‘s Temodar is unenforceable, allowing Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. to sell a generic version of the chemotherapy drug. Israel-based Teva, the world’s largest generic drug maker, is seeking FDA approval to sell a generic version of six doses of the treatment approved for adult patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme and for refractory anaplastic astrocytoma, two forms of brain cancermore

Competition among diabetes franchises. Will competitors make hay over the black box cancer warning on Novo‘s Victoza?

Hey, clinical investigator – no pre-approval promotion (says FDA). What do you think? I agree with the judgment – who’s going to make the call about someone’s “sincerity”?

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PLUS

If you ever need the stats – Internet 2009 by the numbers. Useful data for presentations.

JUST FOR FUN

Steve Jobs abandons the idea of tablet, instead to announce new iPants product (spoof)

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TODAY’S NEWS

Note: if you’re going to engage in questionable marketing practices, documenting it in Powerpoint is probably not a “best practice”! Just saying…

Experiment HIV drug from Merck fails in late-stage studies – Merck & Co  on Wednesday said its experimental HIV treatment vicriviroc proved ineffective in two late-stage studies involving patients who had previously been treated with other HIV medicines...more

Merck diarrhea drug does very well – Merck & Co.’s experimental drug against a germ blamed for increasing rates of deadly diarrhea in U.S. hospitals and nursing homes cut repeat infections by 72 percent, a study in the New England Journal of Medicine saidmore

Orphan drug applications are way up.

Upcoming oral MS drugs are very promising – Study results suggest they are much more effective than expensive “disease modifying” MS drugs such as beta interferon and glatiramer acetate, which have to be injected….more

Top biotech layoffs of 2009.

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E-detailing – Pfizer doubles its spending. I expect this trend to accelerate across the industry. It simply makes sense.

JUST FOR FUN

OCD Medication – instructions.

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Pfizer buying Wyeth. Merck buying Schering-Plough. It’s pharma mega-merger season again.

I hate it.

“Market conditions” | “Complementary pipelines” | “Operational synergies” blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard all the explanations and rationalizations dozens of times before.

Analysts are looking at numbers. I’m looking at faces.

Every one of these mergers has a huge price tag that is rarely weighed in the balance. It’s called disruption.

  • Really good people end up losing their jobs, simply because they are re-labeled from “contributor” to “redundant”.
  • Creative and promising initiatives are stopped dead in their tracks, and often taken out back for burial.
  • Healthy corporate cultures are destroyed.
  • Productivity nosedives for month after month, as no-one knows what (if) their job will be in the future, and the inevitable jockeying and posturing takes over.
  • Agencies and service providers that served one (or both) companies are thrown into a tizzy and lose large volumes of work.
  • Any residual notion of corporate loyalty in our professional arena erodes further, with subsequent resentment and disenchantment.

I remember, with fondness, rubbing shoulders with the folks at Parke-Davis, at RPR, at HMR, at Pharmacia, at Aventis, at Wyeth, at Takeda. I remember bright and motivated people, imaginative programs, interesting corporate cultures, strong professional relationships. And I remember the disruption with every merger or buyout.

Yes, yes, I know that some mergers may actually pan out with an upside down the road (certainly not always, however!). And, some folks get a big payday out of these events. But sweep aside all those numbers, and if you’re involved in the industry, you see people. And pain. I hate these mergers.

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Merck has laid off 750 sales reps so far this year. Ouch.

Genentech to Roche: No. Again (translation: move us from “no” with “dough”…)

Endo brings Indevus into the fold.

PLUS – who is actively involved in social media in pharma? I’m assembling a growing list…here’s what we have so far on this expanding community.

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