The long view
Of course, making predictions about the future is a pretty futile business, and it is fortunate that people generally forget
about predictions shortly after they are made. In fact, there are many factors that can affect the course of events in the
near term and what looks to be a sure thing today can easily go awry tomorrow.
I recently watched an interview of the superstar investor Warren Buffett by the American journalist Charlie Rose. Commenting
on the investment environment, Buffett made an observation that made a big impression. He said: "Things are always uncertain
in the short term. What really is certain is that the things that worked over time will continue to work over time. So the
next day is always uncertain. The next hour is always uncertain. The longer term is pretty darn certain."
As we look into the future of the pharmaceutical services industry, we can be certain about several things: that rising living
standards and ageing populations will drive demand for healthcare; that drugs will continue to be a critical and costeffective
part of the health care equation; and that discovery and invention will keep the pharmaceutical industry dynamic. Pharmaceutical
services companies can be certain that the pharmaceutical industry will continue to offer new opportunities well into the
future; their job will be to figure out how to exploit those opportunities.
Jim Miller is President of PharmSource and a member of Pharmaceutical Technology Europe's Editorial Advisory Board.
The author says...
• The factors that created problems in the pharmaceutical services industry in 2009 are expected to be carried into 2010,
with new challenges on the horizon.
• Funding will remain uncertain for a large portion (small and mid-sized firms) of contract services clients, whilst the outcome
of corporate reorganization within the pharmaceutical companies formed by the recent big mergers also creates uncertainty.
• Contract services companies will face stiffer competition in 2010 from large pharmaceutical firms that have increased their
manufacturing capacity through mergers/acquisitions, as well as from each other as a number of service providers seek to expand
their service offerings.
• Although the short-term future of contract services is unsettled, the pharmaceutical industry will continue to offer new
opportunities for longterm growth.