Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bureaucat vs bureaucrat

The U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, which has been loosely described as a government body or agency, made now-infamous recommendations about mammograms, that have set my neighborhood all atwitter. "Obamacare looms over us already" is the general theme that outraged Americans of every (red) stripe is expressing.

Well, what a triumph this episode truly is for those of us supporting universal healthcare, snatching it from the voracious jaws of the insurance industry. Let's compare nonsensical statements of the recent past, competing for stupidest expression of outrage in 2009. We've all heard "Keep your government hands off my Medicare!" by the senior teabagging set (no snickering, please). How about laments about government bureaucrats controlling our healthcare coverage choices? That has to be about as dumb.

You got insurance? PB does too. You ever have to argue with your insurer about coverage? Yep, been there myself. But PB knows that government-based universal coverage comes with something no private plan has - 535 ombudsmen, eager to be outraged on your behalf. A task force makes a scientific recommendation about mammography that no one likes? It gets shot down faster than a hydrogen trial balloon at Lakehurst NJ. The American Cancer Society changes its position within five days, and legislators fall over themselves racing to microphones to express their indignation. Clarifications are issues, task force members go on NPR to re-explain what they REALLY meant, and patients remain fully covered.

What if a private insurer had examined its own actuarial data, came to the same conclusion about mammograms starting at 50 years old, and simply imposed that on their customers? What group would race out to condemn them, and force a reversal in policy? With universal government coverage, the time from unpopular coverage change recommendations to reversal would be measured in nanoseconds, as 535 congresspersons jam government printers with legislation to force HHS or whomever to pay for all the prostate exams, mammograms, chiropathy, and Native American Medicine Wheel interpretation they can consume.

Thinking like the big shots

Employee parrots

While my previous job winded down, it became too boring to discuss here. PB apologizes for the funk.

But one of my last activities was a course for project management, that was mostly notable for the sad things PB heard during group participation activities. Groups were formed to solve various hypothetical problems using project management techniques, and the assumptions that each group displayed would have Eugene Debs rolling in his grave.

99 out of 100 people in this industry (my unofficial estimate) have completely swallowed the Kool-Aid concerning lay-offs. The industry line: "We will try to find a place for everyone who has been displaced by this action (outsource) but we can't make guarantees." Of COURSE they could. They just choose not to. But the PM class participants who had to lay off people as part of their exercise didn't consider any alternatives. And they're all on the chopping block themselves. Shameful brainwashing.

PB has executive sympathy? Yeah, kinda.

There was also a recent, unspoken yet clearly discernible frustration voiced by our execs, and I actually found myself in agreement with them. Following continued 30% and above year after year profits, our stock has gone nowhere. Our industry profits were barely touched by last years recession, and indeed gave big pharma huge opportunities to gobble up smaller firms with new technologies and drug candidates. So, what's with the plummeting stock prices? Our execs are required to meet with fund managers, Wall Street analysts, and so forth, to describe our business, and explain how they will continue to make their reliable profits. How about some of those investment gurus explaining THEIR business to US for a change. Hell, at least we manufacture stuff that people still buy. They just lose tens of billions (Mr Potter secretly pocketed it all at the bank!) and get bail-outs.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Looking for a Change

Pharmablogger is about to be on the street. Yep, I need a job (you can tell how personal this is because I'm back to using the first person singular). It's been about a year since I've posted here, and I have no idea if anyone will pick up on this entry. Perhaps I've been ousted from your respective Google reader lists from lack of activity, maybe I just frustrated you. But if you like what I've written, and feel that my kind of knowledge about the pharma industry may be valuable to your firm, then contact me, and we'll discuss any possibility. I'm not posting a resume online, because despite any redaction of personal information, my anonymity would be still be blown.

In all seriousness, PB is concerned about impending unemployment, and I would greatly appreciate any leads, any offers, etc. Thank you my friends.