As the pharmaceutical industry faces these challenges, it also faces an even more daunting task: improving its product-development model. Earlier this year, John C. Lechleiter, chairman, president and CEO of Eli Lilly, spoke to this challenge. "Ironically, the crisis in our innovation model comes at a time when we have vastly more scientific knowledge and data than ever before," he said in a speech on Mar. 9, 2011, before the US/Japan Business Council. "But unless we change the way we do research, we won't translate this knowledge into advances for patients. In the face of diminishing results, we can't simply perform the same old rituals and hope for a different outcome. We must truly 'reinvent invention.'"
In the end, the ability of the pharmaceutical industry to collectively and as individual companies to "reinvent invention" will be the underlying measure of its success in 2012 and beyond.Patricia Van Arnum is a senior editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.