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All things Pharma

A tale of two consultants…..

By Industry Insider

 Are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin this tale of two NHS consultants I know very well. Let’s call them Doctor A & B. Close friends since their days as both undergraduates and junior doctors. Two eminent clinicians with widely differing views on our industry and how their profession should interact with us!

Doctor A is a strong industry advocate who has embraced our noble profession with an enthusiasm that any pharma executive would happily like to replicate across the NHS. This customer readily speaks on behalf of certain companies, sees the value of peer-to-peer medical education and appreciates the contribution that the industry provides regarding both our support of CPD and our commitment to R&D. This doctor, however, is no pharmaceutical mercenary and would strongly refute the accusation of being an industry tart with a robust defence of their speaking engagements!

Doctor B’s views on global pharma are certainly a tad left of centre, and whilst not quite as left leaning as the Morning Star, they are certainly some distance from the sort of things you would read in The Daily Telegraph! This consultant still sees the industry as having a somewhat pernicious influence over clinicians, including of course, Doctor A. In this customer’s view of a new world order, gaining access to hospitals would be a very tall order and getting new products on to formularies would be even harder and prescribing choice would be dramatically reduced.

Over several years I’ve spent a lot of time with Doctors A & B ‘chewing the fat’ about the pros and cons of the pharmaceutical industry. Sometimes I pitch in and defend my chosen profession, but more often than not I simply act as a moderator as these two colleagues debate the rights and wrongs! Over either a pint or a glass of red, these debates can be highly entertaining (and rest assured we always ‘go Dutch’, Doctor B would have it no other way!)

These two doctors will probably continue to disagree, whether motivated by ideology or expediency, but I see a happy ending for both in this tale of two consultants! For Doctor A, I see a possible knighthood in the New Year’s Honours List for ‘services to the UK pharmaceutical industry’. And for Doctor B? A new job beckons as the new Health Minister in either Cuba or North Korea! So to both Doctor A and B, if you by chance are reading this and think it might be you that I’m referring to, please note for the record, that my tongue is firmly placed in my cheek.

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