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May 2, 2014
Some People at Pfizer Whose Fault This Isn't
It's worth keeping in mind, as the Pfizer/AZ story develops, that there are some people that don't get mentioned who aren't enjoying this, either: the scientists in Pfizer's labs. As I've mentioned, I know folks there, and I know that there are (still) an awful lot of good scientists working there. And they, of course, have nothing to do with the corporate strategy. They're just along for the ride, strapped in with everyone else.
And in the employment situation we have in the industry today, what else can they do? You can't just up and quit your job because you don't like all the business decisions your company is making, not in this environment, and not when you're trying to pay the mortgage and not have to move your kids somewhere new in the middle of their schooling. At the same time, I know for a fact that Pfizer's decision to go after AstraZeneca not only dismays many people at AZ; it dismays a lot of people at Pfizer as well. But their jobs do not involve advising the CEO and the rest of the executive suite - they're working in med-chem, assay development, formulations, tox and all the rest of what many of the readers of this site do for a living. And there's nothing they can do about it.
It's a very painful situation. I've felt a bit of what they're feeling before, when companies I've worked for have done things that I thought were ill-advised. Sitting in the back of the bus and watching the driver take the wrong exit is intensely frustrating. I'm not trying to add to people's pain and by publicly whacking on their company - but at the same time, this is the biggest current event in the industry at the moment, and (for better or worse) it's a perfect illustration of the state that the industry's gotten itself into. (And the state that Pfizer's gotten itself into, for that matter).
So it's something that I'm going to comment on, and that I have to comment on. The whole point of having a blog like this is to talk about such issues, and to say what I think about them. What I have to say about Pfizer's strategy is very uncomplimentary. But Pfizer's strategy is not Pfizer's people, and for them (the overwhelming majority of them), I have sympathy, because this really isn't their fault.
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