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Harvard Business Review on Fixing Healthcare from Inside & Out by Harvard Business Review

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Rebuilding the R&D Engine in Big Pharma

by Jean-Pierre Garnier

HISTORICALLY, THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY has been a leader in financial performance and value creation. In recent years, however, its stock-market record has raised doubts about the sustainability of that history along with fundamental questions about the industry’s health. From December 2000 to February 2008 the top 15 companies in the industry lost roughly $850 billion in shareholder value, and the price of their shares fell from 32 times earnings, on average, to 13.

The common explanation for investors’ loss of faith is the well-known perfect storm of trends—pricing pressures, regulatory requirements, legal entanglements, inroads by generics, and declining R&D productivity—that ...

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