Baird’s CMC Announces World’s First Sexual & Reproductive Health Specialist Practice

reproductive health

Today, our partner Baird’s CMC is announcing the launch of the first global consultancy of its kind focused on sexual and reproductive health. It is an integrated practice that includes research, analysis, planning, consultancy and implementation expertise, anywhere in the world. If you are facing a challenge, dealing with a crisis, developing a new product or seeking to understand the potential political, social and regulatory implications of a policy change, Baird’s CMC offers the expertise to help you make informed decisions. Welcome to the dawning of a new era.

Here’s what you can expect when you talk to us

  • A different level of management consultancy that encompasses research, analysis planning and implementation
  • The ability to help you communicate about change
  • Resources anywhere (absolutely anywhere) you need them–our international team of SRH specialists live and work in more than 70 countries and on every continent
  • Serious credentials in sexual and reproductive health–our team includes former government health ministers, senior staff from multinational NGOs, corporate leadership from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, and professional management consultants
  • State-of-the-art technology and systems to manage global teams and projects cost effectively

You may have a pressing need that requires serious expertise in sexual and reproductive health to help you navigate through a difficult situation. Or you might just want to learn more about what a truly world-class consultancy specialising in sexual and reproductive health can do for your organisation. Either way, please get in touch with us. If it has anything to do with sexual and reproductive health, we’re confident we can help.

Medicines access and affordability: a look forward to 2016

pharmaceuticalsWe think that there will be unparalleled attention in 2016 on the issues of access to advanced medicines and on how to pay for them. Past controversies have largely focussed on access in low and middle-income countries; this time Europe and North America will command at least as much attention. Ironically, the world’s richest and the poorest will face the same problem – who pays, for what, how and why?

The legacy of 2015

The background noise is high

Why 2016 will be busy

It will be difficult for anyone to track everything that is likely to happen in 2016

  • In late November 2015, the UN Secretary-General convened a high-level panel on health technology innovation and access. The only multi-national pharmaceutical company representative is Sir Andrew Witty of GSK. Dr Yusuf Hamied of Cipla also sits on the panel. Several stakeholders are notably absent: the IFPMA, the Patent Pool and the WHO, for example. Civil society groups that have been highly critical of the R&D-based pharmaceutical industry are strongly represented. The likely drivers of the panel are Brazil (represented by a former WTO ambassador and by a senior executive at a parastatal producer of biologicals and small molecules) and South Africa (represented by the Director-General of the country’s Department of Health). Both countries are committed to improving access to treatments for innovative medicines for NCDs

UNDP is providing the secretariat and several of the panel members served on an earlier UNDP Commission that was often hostile to pharmaceutical patents: one of its working papers said, “When voluntary licences are not forthcoming or refused or when the licences involve minimal technology transfer and capacity building, government and private entities can consider compulsory licensing alternatives, especially if there is an access/affordability issue. If the government has adopted easy-to-use compulsory licensing procedures, then private interests, including but not limited to generic producers, can take the initiative to promote competition”. (In fairness, the Commission tackled lots of thorny issues such as gay men in the Arab world or cultural practices and human rights and was never afraid to be forthright)

A report is due in June 2016 and will probably play out in the media at the beginning of the summer in the northern hemisphere – when newsrooms are dry. It will very likely be pitched as a poor countries versus rich countries issue, making for sensational headlines. The timing will give middle-income countries a chance to bring forward a General Assembly resolution based on the findings. There is talk of launching a “People’s Health Movement” during the UNGA. Some patient groups are concerned that the discourse may become overly ideological

  • The General Assembly will also receive a list of over 200 proposed indicators on progress towards the newly-adopted Sustainable Development Goals. This is due to be finalised by the March meeting of the UN Statistical Commission but some of the indicators may take longer. We should expect several to focus on non-communicable disease in lower and middle income countries. The SDGs themselves contain specific language on intellectual property and health (for example, speaking about “the right of developing countries to use to the full the provisions in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights regarding flexibilities to protect public health, and, in particular, provide access to medicines for all”). Many hope that the indicators will include ambitious targets on tobacco, abuse of alcohol and the promotion of unhealthy foods and beverages
  • After the Nairobi trade talks, the US Trade Representative  noted, that WTO members “will be freed to consider new approaches to pressing unresolved issues and begin evaluating new issues for the organization to consider” It will take experienced and informed in-country experts to understand what  civil society, media and politicians are doing in Brazil, China, India and other major developing economies
  • The rotating Presidency of the European Union is with The Netherlands until the end of June (and from July with Slovakia as part of the same group of three countries which co-ordinate their agendas). Dutch Health Minister, Edith Schippers has said that their Presidency will focus on European cooperation on drug prices and bringing innovative medicines to the EU market faster, and at affordable prices. Belgium and The Netherlands are experimenting with pooled procurement for orphan drugs. The European Haemophilia Consortium says that, “other Health Ministers displayed their interest in the programme and ….[may]  join the initiative after the pilot project.”
  • The Secretary General of the OECD wrote last year, “In early 2017, the OECD will be convening a meeting of OECD Ministers of Health in Paris to discuss how health systems can best adapt to meet the challenges of the future. At a time of rapidly evolving demand and scarce resources, the need for the OECD’s mission of better data, better analysis and better policies for better lives has never been greater.” This health ministers’ meeting has been the focus of intensive preparation work by some industry sectors but has been largely ignored by both the pharma industry and key civil society organisations although a central OECD task will be to consider, “ways of managing the use of …. often very expensive [pharmaceutical and new] technologies, at an appropriate cost”

GSK is the only R&D-based multinational pharma company represented at a high level on either the Secretary-General’s panel or on the Healthcare Working Group of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee of the OECD. It’s an excellent company and its presence indicates the depth of its thinking on these issues. However, its views on IP issues are often at variance with those of some other companies. For example, in a 2014 Chatham House paper on antimicrobial resistance, Kevin Outterson, an academic at Boston University,  wrote, “GlaxoSmithKline outlines a valuable framework for full delinkage [of R&D from sales]. The drugs are provided at marginal cost to payers (and perhaps lower to consumers at the point of care) with all company profits deriving from a very significant government-funded income stream.” Outterson points out that the GSK position on AMR is shared by many other European life science companies and some biotechs. But few U.S. companies would have presented that outline. The typical critique of GSK is sometimes unfair (this 2015 Forbes article gives a flavour of the genre) but GSK’s business model is much more diversified and somewhat lower risk than that of most of the rest of the industry. As the Forbes piece points out, GSK is also ready to try radical experiments to make innovative medicines affordable in middle-income countries.

How can we help?

We have put together a team which can help monitor every aspect of developments throughout this very busy year. We can also  help inform policy makers and policy influencers involved in each of the processes. Our existing clients, on a range of projects, include governments, multilateral organisations, multinational companies, NGOs, foundations and patient groups. We have over fifteen years work in policy and specialised quantitative market research on health and access issues. We have developed strategy and internal training plans for major foundations, governments and at least half of the biggest ten global pharmaceutical companies.

We have expert colleagues in every major centre of activity: Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, South Africa, the UK and the USA for example. Our new partnership in Geneva gives us top-level analysis of trade and global health issues. We also have experienced partners in emerging centres of activity on these issues such as Colombia and Indonesia.

Honey, I Shrunk the Pharmaceutical Industry

Image courtesy of

More news this week about the Incredible Shrinking U.S. Pharmaceutical Industry. Yesterday, BioPharma Dive ran a story titled “3 Major Trends Driving Layoffs in Biotech and Pharma.” 

Jobs in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry have been eliminated at an alarming rate. Consider the most recent numbers. Between 2009 and 2013–a five year period–at least 156,000 American jobs were eliminated from pharmaceutical companies. One thing we’ve definitely learned over more than two decades working in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries: just because something is good for shareholder return does not mean that it is healthy for the industry overall.

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Strategic Communications Can’t Fix Bad Leadership


This morning I watched the news with dismay as I learned about Rolling Stone magazine’s apparently false story about the rape of a student at the University of Virginia (UVA). In a 9,000 word article published in November 2014 entitled “A Rape on Campus,” a UVA student, identified in the article by the fictional name of “Jackie” to protect her real identity, alleged that she was the victim of a vicious gang rape at a campus fraternity house. After investigating the case, police in Charlottesville, Virginia could find no evidence that a rape had taken place. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the reporter, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, did not talk to any of the students allegedly involved in the rape before publishing the story. Rolling Stone retracted the story, apologized, and published an independent report by the Columbia School of Journalism that detailed where the magazine had gone wrong in developing this story. But the magazine also blamed “Jackie” for manipulating the magazine’s reporting process, and it also stated that none of the editors or reporters involved in the false story would lose their jobs. Continue reading

Pharmaceutical Companies and mHealth: Where are the Opportunities?

mHealthMobile health, digital health and big data analytics are real growth areas, impacting all aspects of the healthcare ecosystem and changing how we deliver healthcare, manage our individual health, pay for services and access health related information, among other things. But where do pharmaceutical companies fit into the equation, and how can the pharmaceutical industry benefit from the revolution happening in mHealth?

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BMS Acqusition Strengthens its Position as a Global Oncology Leader

mergers-and-acquisitionsEarlier this week, Bristol-Myers Squibb signaled its continued focus on becoming the world’s most successful specialty pharmaceutical company, and a global oncology leader when it announced the acquisition of Flexus Biosciences for up to $1.25 billion, along with a $339 million research agreement with Rigel Pharmaceuticals.

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More Pharmaceutical Industry Consolidation: Thinning out the Middle

Pills_and_tablets-439975-editedSo far this year there has been a lot in the news about M&A activity within the pharmaceutical industry, and lately the coverage seems to be about what’s happening with mid-tier companies, or specialty pharmaceutical companies. These companies are by no means small, but they aren’t on the same level as the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies. And they tend to be focused in markets where they have particular strengths.

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U.S. Pharma Industry Evolution


Today’s news about Pfizer’s $17 billion deal to acquire Hospira, a leading generic injectibles and biosimilars company, shows some of the tectonic shifts taking place in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry. This is a big deal for a number of reasons. It demonstrates where some of the biggest growth opportunities are for pharmaceutical companies; hospital products, injectibles and biosimilars, which are generic copies of biological therapies. With an estimated $100 billion in biotech drugs losing patent protection in the next five to ten years, biosimilars represent a huge opportunity for pharma.

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AstraZeneca Doubles Down on Personalized Medicine


This week, AstraZeneca made a major announcement about its commitment to personalized medicine. AstraZeneca announced that it had established four research agreements to develop new “genetic scissors” technology that promises to allow the development of more effective and precisely targeted treatments. This is another step forward and further evidence that “precision medicine,” as president Obama called it in his recent State of the Union address, is seen as the future of drug development and medical progress. It is also further proof that global leaders in the pharma industry are fully embracing personalized medicine. Continue reading

Constructive Convergence: Pharmaceutical Companies and Mobile Health

Last week, the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) convened in Las Vegas. With 170,000 attendees and approximately 3,600 exhibitors, CES is one of the largest industry conferences in the world. CES is where new gadgets of all kinds are introduced to the world, from phones to drones to in-car technologies, and of course telemedicine and mobile health technologies.

Amid the seemingly endless stream of news coming out before, during and after CES was one announcement in particular that really caught my eye. Qualcomm, a global technology giant, announced a collaboration with Novartis to provide mobile technologies designed to enhance the efficiency and productivity of Novartis clinical trial programs and improve the experience of trial participants. This partnership is a key component in Novartis’s “Clinical Trials of the Future” program.

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More US Pharmaceutical Industry Downsizing

The U.S. pharmaceutical industry has taken some pretty severe hits over the past decade, and recent news suggests that it isn’t over yet. On December 3rd,  GlaxoSmithKline is expected to announce hundreds of job cuts in the United States, including jobs at GSK’s Philadelphia and Research Triangle Park locations. Continue reading

MANA 2015 Healthcare Marketing Report


Healthcare in the United States is in a transformational period. The Affordable Care Act, an explosion in new medical technologies, and the emergence of personalized medicine as a new model for healthcare delivery are all contributing to massive changes. In our free report, written specifically for those of us working in healthcare marketing, we take a look at some of these areas to identify what healthcare marketers will be facing in 2015.

We are very passionate about the industries and the clients we serve, and we believe that it is an incredibly challenging and exciting time for healthcare marketers as the U.S. healthcare system goes through a period of unprecedented change.

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Dementia–A Real Healthcare Crisis for the Pharmaceutical Industry

DementiaThis morning I read a very sad story in the excellent British newspaper The Telegraph. David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, described the “desperate sadness” he felt as he watched Margaret Thatcher, a brilliant politician and one of the UK’s great leaders who he saw at the height of her powers, slip away with the onset and progression of dementia.

The United Kingdom is in the midst of a national debate on dementia as the result of a recent report from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the independent regulator of health and social care in England. The report found major shortcomings in the quality of care provided to those suffering from dementia across the country. Continue reading

Pharmaceutical Industry Diversification: The Right Direction?

Yesterday, Bloomberg announced that Merck KGaA will acquire Sigma-Aldrich, a leading global laboratory supply and drug manufacturing services organization for $17 billion in cash. According to Bloomberg, this most recent deal is part of a broader strategy for Merck KGaA to “reduce its dependence on drug development.”

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The Father of Sustainability, Pharmaceutical Marketing and Food Safety

567_theodore_roosevelt_seatedAs an avid student of history since I was young, I have been watching and thoroughly enjoying the Ken Burns series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” airing on PBS over the past few weeks. While many people have at least a basic understanding of, and appreciation for, the achievements of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and his extraordinary wife and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, I think that far fewer of us are that knowledgeable about Theodore Roosevelt, simply because his presidency and his lifetime are to us far more distant history. But what a great man Theodore Roosevelt was. Burns’ outstanding program gives us wonderful insights into just how thoroughly modern Teddy Roosevelt was, in terms of really helping to shape our current understanding of sustainability, creating the foundations for today’s corporate America, and ushering in a new era of consumer protection by paving the way for what is today’s Food and Drug Administration.

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The Pharmaceutical Industry Needs to Find a Third Way

Yesterday, John LaMattina published an excellent story in Forbes looking at a recent round of research failures at pharmaceutical companies including Novo Nordisk, Exelixis and Piramal, and suggesting that these and other high profile research failures spell doom for drug discovery research scientists. From the standpoint of our understanding of the causes of human disease in 2014, which has never been greater, this is both illustrative of how risky the drug discovery process has become for pharmaceutical companies, and tragic because as a result of this the industry is scaling back on investments in early stage research at a time when it would seem they should be investing more. The implications for the pharmaceutical industry, and the patients who need the products they research and develop, are worrying to say the least. I spend a lot of time thinking about the pharmaceutical industry, where it is going, and how it can continue to adapt and be successful in times of great change.

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