From the Editor in Chief: We Need to Talk

Mar 01, 2006


Laura Bush
In recent days, several different colleagues, in separate conversations about the industry, made remarkably similar comments.

"Our industry needs to focus on the fundamentals. We should engage in a constructive dialogue to ensure that scientists, not politicians, make important science decisions," said the first.

"The industry should get back to basics, instead of focusing on lobbying efforts," said the next.

"Companies should work together to develop solutions that are too challenging for each one to tackle on its own."

The specific industry concerns on the minds of these speakers were not the same. The first was talking about the need to improve manufacturing science and our understanding of our margins of control, for all pharmaceutical products, including follow-on biologics.

The second was referring, in part, to the terrible start of the Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit, and the fact that older Americans are still putting their health at risk by ordering prescription drugs over the Internet because they can get them more affordably, and more simply, than through Part D.

The third was talking about the lack of available manufacturing capacity to produce flu vaccines in the face of a pandemic.

We can add a fourth voice to this call for industry self-evaluation by including the author of this month's "Final Word" column.

Thus, I detect a consensus about the need for constructive dialogue.

One of these people added an important point: "I want to get more feedback from people who disagree with me," she said.

Of course, these are diverse topics, and none will be resolved simply or easily. But it is important that the voices of experienced industry professionals be heard.

That means all of you, our readers. I invite you to contribute to the conversation, through a letter to the editor or by submitting an opinion piece for our "Final Word" column.

By making diverse voices heard, we can shape the industry's future direction, and the nation's health as well.