From the horse’s mouth

On the 28th May an anonymous commentator highlighted the 2011 pay packet of George Scangos, chief executive of Biogen Idec:

“Biogen Idec, CEO Scangos Pay Reached $11.3 Million in 2011. It is more profitable being a Pharma CEO than being a banker; MS is obviously a profitable disease for some people.”

Biogen-Idec market Avonex and Tysabri and have a pipeline of very interesting drugs for MS. 

The following are some extracts from the recent interview with George Scangos:

“We have to face the fact that we are going to be a lower-margin industry going forward.”

“Yes, there are some upside ‘universal truths’ that the life sciences industry sees worldwide, including the aging population and an increasing demand for better therapies.” 

“But increasingly those aspects are being weighed against the cost of those therapies. That is the world we live in and there is no use whining or complaining about it…. We are all going to have to do our part to bring those costs under control.”

“It’s a risky business and investors expect a certain amount of return.” 

“How companies ‘balance that’ spending with return is one of the critical challenges facing the industry.”

Full the full article

“Some of the points raised by Scangos are interesting and have implications for MSers and their families. Any thoughts?”

5 thoughts on “From the horse’s mouth”

  1. Sure, this is not a good time for pharmaceutical industries, but then again, it’s not a good time for most businesses.However, big pharmas have made a lot of dough for the last 50-years, and because the one size fits all nature of pharmacology is becoming redundant; they’re cutting back on exploratory medicinal advancements and abandoning research into particular diseases. The world of disease treatment is changing Prof G, and all of you must adapt or die. Hence, I actually think your team’s study into treating progressive MS epitomises the worst of George Scangos’ fears. Having witnessed the ineptitude on the part of big pharma when it comes to addressing progressive MS, you have come up with a way to take existing compounds and fashioned a personalised medicine initiative with lower development costs. If you succeed then you’ll have realised exactly what George Scangos is afraid of as it will affect his company’s bottom line. I truly hope your trials are successful, only because it will annoy greedy big businesses.Remyelination strategies will be an area where, unfortunately, you will need the monetary backing of big pharma. Because medicinal trials still abide by an anachronistic and overly stretched paradigm, it seems a shame that promising treatments to fix damage to the nervous system are still decades away because of the current trial design. We need o think of ways to speed up the process and bring it into the 21st century.Let me tell you Prof G, when all is said and done, pharma will always stand in the face of progress because it puts shareholder before patient. You and I may want to eradicate MS, but pharma will always want it to be a disease that it can milk for maximum financial gain. Pharma does not have an altruistic agenda; it seeks to cultivate profit, and now that revenue stream may dry up somewhat, it’s looking to ditch ideas rather than to run with them as it may prove too costly in the long run.

  2. I dont agree with the first commentor. It makes my head spin to think of drug pricing and pharma companies. MS drugs are just too expensive.But if big pharma cant make big profits then nobody will fund big clinical trials. If top execs are taking paycuts then talented managers will not come into the field at all. This Forbes article talks about how healthcare is not as profitable as other industries. Healthcare entrepreneurs dont become rich like the facebook billionaires

  3. re – "If top execs are taking paycuts then talented managers will not come into the field at all. "This is the kind of thinkinmg that has got Europe and America in a world of trouble. Healtcare shoould never be based on profit but on actual 'care'. The need to run everything like a corporation has destroyed our living standards. The current system of drawn out trials suits big pharma because they then have a monoply over care because they're the only ones that can fund it.I hope that in Greece today they vote for change and shake up the world. There are MSers here that have been deprived medicine because the big pharma won't extend its credit line. We are dying here people. Greed is evil and so are big pharma.

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