Recent news articles and industry analysts have discussed what’s wrong with and how to fix pharmaceutical industry R&D. It's no secret the industry has suffered, and continues to do so, and that innovation appears to have stalled with new drug approvals having slowed considerably. Add to this that the stock prices of the large pharmaceutical companies are down and large numbers of jobs have been lost in the last ten years. ,/span>
An article published in "Forbes" magazine discussed the issues facing pharma and suggests some major changes may be taking place in the way new drugs are developed and how R&D budgets should be spent. As the article points out, some proponents suggest companies shut down their R&D laboratories entirely and outsource work to smaller companies who are better suited to deal with innovation and able to adapt to the unpredictability of drug development.
Another, less radical approach suggested in the article, is for the industry to adopt an "open-source" approach to drug development. Much like the approach undertaken by Procter & Gamble. Using this approach, P&G developed best practices that embraced innovation as a total corporate strategy transforming P&G's organizational culture. By adopting "open-source" innovation, P&G realized that they didn't need to own the innovation in-house. In listening to their customers, suppliers and employees, their productivity in developing new products that exceeded their customers' expectations far exceeded what they could do themselves. This idea is growing in acceptance in the pharmaceutical industry and some progress has been made towards incorporating this approach into some companies' R&D philosophies.
Whether some of the ideas presented in the "Forbes" article are viable for the industry remains to be seen, but one thing is clear, change is needed – given that as Tuffs Center for Drug Development notes cost to market for a new drug now exceeds $1billion and may take upwards of 15 y+ years to get to market.