The pharmaceutical industry is in a critical period of transition. Business models that have proven remarkably successful over the past twenty years are now encountering major challenges. As companies struggle with some of these challenges – pricing pressures, pipeline productivity, and greater public scrutiny – it’s becoming clear that a profound shift is underway in the requirements for success.

One of the most broadly recognized models in need of change is the industry’s commercial model. Accordingly, many pharma companies have started initiatives to reconfigure their commercial organizations, with a particular emphasis on field sales. They’ve reduced the size of their sales force focused on detailing physicians, and have expanded the number of reps calling on “strategic accounts”, including managed care organizations.

In reality, however, these initiatives don’t justify the “new commercial model” label that companies so readily attach to them. At a fundamental level, the central assumptions about how to conduct business are unchanged. What’s needed is a more transformative approach that responds to the fundamental changes taking place in the market.

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