Time to put Pharma 3.0 into action!

Rebecca Aris interviews Phil Golz


As our Marketing Excellence month draws to a close, we hear from GSK’s Phil Golz around integrating technologies into a wider marketing strategy and his views on the future of pharma marketing. He also tells us how he would like there to be less talk and more action in moving into the era of Pharma 3.0.

Phil Golz works within GSK to identify existing and future areas of focus for pharmaceutical innovation. He speaks with pharmaphorum on why we need to stop talking about Pharma 3.0 and actually put it into action.

Interview summary

RA: Phil, thank you for agreeing to an interview. Could you please start by sharing a little about your role within GSK?

PG: I work in an above country Commercial Innovation function in GSK, which has several responsibilities. Firstly, I work with my R&amp,D and Manufacturing Innovation colleagues to create and maintain an aligned innovation strategy, which complements our corporate strategy. This provides GSK with a common definition for the types of innovation which occur within a pharma company and identifies existing and future areas of focus for pharmaceutical innovation within GSK. I am also working on establishing an innovation framework within GSK to ensure that we generate good ideas, fund and sponsor the best ideas and then resource, monitor and either kill unsuccessful projects early or scale successful projects quickly. A third component is running an innovation network within GSK, which currently has over 100 members from the across the organisation who either work in innovation or who have a genuine interest in the future of healthcare and the continued evolution of the pharma industry to address our future customer needs.

Finally, I lead innovation projects, which require cross-functional resourcing or high level sponsorship – I am currently leading four projects of this sort and hope to transition these to market-based resource in due course. In this capacity, I act as a catalyst for getting good ideas off the ground and building the momentum they need to succeed.


“Pharma has steadily diversified away from a core dependence on blockbuster medicines…”


RA: What key changes have you noted in the industry over the past ten years?

PG: Pharma has steadily diversified away from a core dependence on blockbuster medicines towards maintaining a healthcare portfolio of products in an attempt to iron out fluctuating sales cycles and protect against patent cliffs. Different companies have taken different directions (e.g. preventative medicine, animal health, medical devices, consumer health), but the principle remains the same – generating steadier revenues from stable businesses. There has also been a strong focus on efficiency improvements and reducing the bottom line. In manufacturing, the pharma industry has learned from innovation in other industries, gradually adopting lean practices and operational excellence, but also creating regional manufacturing and warehousing capabilities in lower cost geographies. The commercial side of the organisation has seen significant reductions in sales force numbers and a slow but steady adoption of digital marketing capabilities. Diversification and bottom line reduction activities are very much the domain of pharma 2.0 (to borrow some terminology from Ernst and Young Progressions report).

RA: How do you think the pharma industry can reduce the cost of healthcare and improve the efficiency of healthcare delivery?

PG: Costs of healthcare have grown faster than GDP for over 20 years now and huge strain is being put on government healthcare budgets as a result. This is largely (but not exclusively) driven by increased longevity and higher prevalence of treatable chronic disease (diabetes, obesity, respiratory, cardiovascular disease etc).

While medicines usually only constitute 10-15% of healthcare spend, if it is to continue to grow, the pharma industry must become more engaged in reducing cost in adjacent spaces (notably healthcare services). This can only be done through collaborations and partnerships with payers and providers and through intelligent and purposeful use of technology to complement the core medicines business.

One good example of how this can be done is in the remote monitoring space, where use of technology to help patients take their medicines when they are supposed to and report diagnostic information to carers can significantly reduce cost in the system. Pharma companies are well placed to develop intelligent medications and / or provide complementary services to Payers and Providers in this space. Deep understanding of healthcare systems, identification of inefficiencies and the provision of services to address these inefficiencies will start taking us into the domain of Pharma 3.0 and creating ever more value for our customers and more-importantly for patients.


“…the pharma industry must become more engaged in reducing cost in adjacent spaces (notably healthcare services).”


RA: What advice would you offer on integrating emerging technologies into a wider marketing and brand excellence strategy?

PG: Actually my advice here is pretty simply – just do it! What we have found in GSK is that there is often a lot of talking about Pharma 3.0 activities, but not as much action.

Marketeers are not often incentivised directly to be innovative, but by looking at doing things differently from their competitors and leveraging their companies deep therapy area expertise, they are ideally placed to create competitive advantage for their products, be they new launches or those threatened by generic introduction. While many within the industry still believe that the tried-and-tested model will prevail, those who are enlightened understand the pressure for pharma to do something different and will ultimately be rewarded by taking risks.

Perversely, marketeers will do better to experiment with ‘emerged’ technologies (like iPads, SmartPhones and cloud technologies) than with emerging technologies, as these are often cheaper and lower risk and also will naturally create partnerships with industry partners who are itching to enter the healthcare space.

RA: What do you think pharma marketing will look like in ten years time and how do you think pharma should be adapting its marketing to address this future world?

Pharma marketing will be divided into two areas:

• Conventional product-based marketing, where the core focus will be in presenting scientific information to Healthcare Professionals in order to convey the benefits of a pharmaceutical manufacturers medicine or device and

• Value based marketing directed at both payers and HCPs. These help payers understand the value added services attached to a product, which are designed to reduce the cost of healthcare and encourage payers to make the reimbursement decision. They also help HCPs understand the services which are available to them should they decide to prescribe a medication, such that the maximum value can be delivered to patients.

RA: Thank you for your time.




About the interviewee:

Phil Golz is currently European Innovation Manager at GlaxoSmithKline where he is responsible for leading GSK’s approach to commercial innovation in Europe, with a strong focus on identifying new healthcare business models and opportunities. He originally trained as a scientist, holding a BSc in Biochemistry and Genetics from Nottingham University, though has spent most of his career working in technology and innovation both within industry (J&amp,J and GSK) and as a consultant. Today he holds an MBA from London Business School and considers himself as an entrepreneur working at the interface of biology and technology.

How can we put Pharma 3.0 into action?