This is not a happy column by John Carroll at FierceBiotech. But it’s an accurate one. He references the period just a few years ago when Pfizer closed its Sandwich site in the UK and Roche closed Nutley, NJ, among other upheavals.
That period of intense Big Pharma turmoil, though, has failed to create a new normal that can offer investigators greater confidence that they’ll be able to keep their jobs. And the disruption is continuing with a new wave of restructuring every bit as traumatic as the first tsunami of makeovers.
Honestly, I don’t know anyone in this business, large company or small, that can say truthfully that they have great confidence in keeping their jobs. Certainly not with any time horizon as great as, say, four years, the time between the closures mentioned above and now. Turmoil is the new normal; Carroll’s right about that. It’s been this way for years now, to the point where we hardly notice it, except when another dramatic shakeup hits.
That’s why I tend to lose patience with critics of the drug business, even though they may have other valid points, when they start going on about big, complacent pharma, drowsy and bulging with cash. It’s hard to square that picture with the experience of actually working in this industry, when it feels like some sort of lunatic combination of a roller coaster and a demolition derby. If drug companies are such unstoppable money machines, how come everyone seems to be running around in Headless Poultry Mode?