By Rob Wright, Chief Editor, Life Science Leader
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In the upcoming September issue of Life Science Leader, we will feature an article on how Brent Saunders went about building Allergan’s social contract, a document that may likely serve to define his biopharma legacy. “I really haven’t thought much about that,” responds Allergan’s chairman, president, and CEO when asked if he thinks the social contract could end up defining him as a leader. “Over time, as people evaluate my leadership in the role, I hope it is not limited to the social contract, but also will look at the medicines developed during my tenure, the performance of the business, and the many leaders and CEOs that will rise out of Allergan.” And while Saunders did not have “leaving a legacy” on the top of his agenda for why he wanted to create the social contract, he did have a secret hope.
After publication of the social contract via a September 6, 2016, posting to his CEO Blog, there have been a number of companies that have seemingly jumped on the position Allergan took regarding drug pricing. “Novo Nordisk was the first,” says Saunders. “I really applaud Novo Nordisk for doing it, but not because they adopted something akin to our social contract, but because they did something that will serve to memorialize what a great organization Novo Nordisk is.” Saunders says his goal was never to get any biopharmaceutical company to adopt Allergan’s social contract. “I was secretly hoping that some companies, or at least one company, would one-up us, creating, for lack of a better word, a little competition toward innovating on the social contract concept,” he confides. “I still hope this happens, for it is necessary if we [the collective biopharma industry] want to learn and achieve ever bigger and better things.”
Others that have adopted the social contract concept include AbbVie, Eli Lilly & Company, and Valeant Pharmaceuticals. “There were other companies that created their own versions (e.g., Merck and J&J), which seem to be more focused on transparency than actual commitment to a specific action,” he adds. “I view this as being a really a strong step in the right direction.” For just as Saunders does not consider the social contract to be a static document (it should evolve over time), he believes other companies will need to continue to evolve how they approach drug pricing. Otherwise, those changes may be implemented by the government.
Be on the lookout for the Life Science Leader exclusive feature, “Behind The Scenes Of Allergan’s Social Contract,” featuring Allergan’s Chairman, President, and CEO, Brent Saunders (likely in your mailbox around Friday, September 8, 2017). If you enjoyed this installment of “Beyond The Printed Page” (free, additional content), you’ll probably really like this upcoming full-length feature. And if you subscribe today, you can take advantage of our current special subscription offer that can save you big bucks! Don’t miss out on reading this previous untold story.