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As much press as there’s been lately on issues like pricing transparency, regulatory pressures and the digitization of patient empowerment, these are not strategic imperatives. Big headaches for Pharma executives maybe; but they’re the not the forward-looking, innovative “game changing” strategies those most senior leaders are hopefully hard at work on.


The confusion here is understandable. A common definition for a “strategic imperative” is that it is a business goal or objective that has the highest priority.

That’s where the danger lies: in reacting to the current fires to put out, by making the act of putting them out the most important mandates for the organization.


The most effective long range strategies; and yes, this includes……


1- Becoming a strategic partner in your customers’ long term success

2- Empowering and equipping your commercial organization to develop disruptive, transforming opportunities

3- Taking a formal seat at the population management decision making table……


…should always be anchored to the shorter-range tactical objectives that must be met to satisfy stakeholder expectations.


Ironically, most pharma companies are surprisingly adept at thinking long-term when it comes to R&D and pipeline planning; both organic and through partnerships and acquisitions. But the temptation to firefight business pressures in the name of strategic planning can affect the habits of even the most progressive leaders.

It’s time to gather up all the articles, blog posts, white papers and c-suite discussions about how pharma companies must innovate and evolve their go-to-market strategies and admit that the ultimate indicator of commercial success; the ability to close the customer value gap and become a truly indispensable partner in managing a cost-effective healthcare system that produces ever-improving patient outcomes, is a needle that has barely moved in the last few years.

We’re not saying that the current set of fires to put out are not real or shouldn’t be dealt with. But when it comes to bolder thinking that generates truly strategic imperatives and plans that transform the dynamic of the pharma-customer relationship over time, fiddling while Rome is burning is not an acceptable option.

Have an insight or opinion on this topic? We’d love to have you join the discussion!




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