Is it Better to Forgive and Pharm-merge?

August 6, 2012 – 4:26 pm | By Michael Harris | No comments yet

Aug. 5 was International Forgiveness Day, and the founding organization of this annual effort, Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance (WFA), says in its mission statement that a goal is to promote and publicize the research findings that show forgiveness creates better health, abundance, greater optimism and lessens depression, stress, illness and disease. It also deems forgiveness as the greatest healer of all, able to impart more lasting, happy, supportive relationships.

Well, that statement’s certainly applicable in biopharma – particularly in M&A transactions, inasmuch as the pardon-begets-profit model can be observed whenever a hostile takeover finally closes and the executive of a formerly defiant target company signs on the dotted line to receive its recompense, while proclaiming a public veneration for yesterday’s buy-side antagonist.

There’s no way to precisely compare how many patients either forgiveness or biopharma have kept healthy or alive, but we know there is definitely more tangible evidence that the latter has done so with daily regularity for many years.

Conversely, I’d think the most unforgiving group in biopharma consists of the still-unemployed and now-underemployed collaterally damaged industry researchers, sales reps, blue collar staff and executives of the still-growing legion of the downsized.

If public forgiveness is indeed the best therapy and if forgiving those health-related elements that I deem to have affronted me will save me pain, suffering and monthly pocket-emptying pharmacy trips, then I have a list to forgive!

I forgive you, biopharma, for treating, but not curing disease, for I acknowledge the wages of alternative faith-healing are often death! But come on – with the best scientific and medical minds working on disease indications since the dawn of mankind, you’ve cured how many diseases – three? And don’t get me started on the common cold (more like the unconquerable cold – you think?)!

I forgive advancing age, which with each succeeding year, robs me of youth, flexibility, vitality, strength, acuity and general health, while relegating me to a permanent schedule of drug dosing. “Elderly-bots, deterior-age!”

I forgive you, social media, for the deception you perpetrated convincing me that you would compellingly transform the biopharma market by now. Unless you can tweet a drug into my bloodstream, like me into healthiness or otherwise unfriend me from disease, stop interrupting me every 30 seconds!


Short-Circuit the Recession with a Simple Apology?

According to WFA, the reconciliation process can be initiated by either the wronged or the wrongdoer, so now I assume the latter role to help biopharma out with its biggest falling out of this century.

There is one particularly culpable suspect that’s regarded as being responsible for the carnage that has beset biopharma, particularly over the past five years. Every downtick in the biotech index is attributed to it. It is mentioned as the culprit, either prominently or between the lines, in every restructuring notice and in most “Can you come to my office – now?” requests that culminate with an escorted walk-of-no-return to the edge of the corporate premises.

No wonder the economy is perturbed and holding on to its grudge, since only the negative is ever assigned to it. Whenever profits increase, corporate expansion occurs or products are approved, we take the credit, but no one’s good news press release ever thanks the economy for cooperating with business development strategies or paving the way for success.

The economy may be miffed at the lack of respect it gets facilitating the respective biotech market march to profitability and the nonstop pharma market growth to cha-ching! status, so perhaps it is time to issue an apology of pecuniary proportions to the economy.

Since the biotech market’s 1976 founding, economic growth years have outpaced recession years by at least four-to-one, and by twice that much during pharma’s history.

So, to the sulking economy that has taken its leading economic indicators and gone home, I submit, on behalf of biopharma humankind, which allowed you to shoulder the blame for our irrational, misguided or avaricious activities, an apology and request for your forgiveness, and an invitation to please come out and play with us again!

We’ll likely lapse again, but since our friendship usually booms in between downturns – can’t we just get along until, say, biotech’s 2017 patent cliff, meanwhile?

There – cathartic process concluded! The recession aftermath should be over any day now!

BioWorld reports daily on all manner of market news, so I know there’ve been enough layoffs, lawsuits, divorces, missed endpoints, deceptions and blown investments to generate many broken relationships and a cache of hurt feelings.

So, weigh in, biopharm-ers! Whom do you forgive or from whom would you seek pardon for your own biopharma-related peccadilloes? Who do you think should forgive whom (or what) in the biopharma realm? Or who should never be forgiven for offenses against the market?

Editor’s note: The blog editor hereby seeks to be forgiven for missing the Aug. 5 Forgiveness Day deadline in posting this essay.


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