NEWS13 August 2010

GfK’s Vanderveer warns of health risks to pharma MR agencies

North America

US— Pharmaceutical market research agencies “as we know them” may be living on borrowed time, suggests GfK Healthcare CEO Richard Vanderveer.

Writing in the company’s newsletter, he says recent events, marketplace experiences and conversations at conferences “could readily lead one to conclude that it is increasingly difficult to maintain a viable business as an agency focusing on the conduct of high quality pharmaceutical marketing research”.

Vanderveer’s comments were prompted in part by news of the planned closure of TVG, the business he founded in 1979 as The Vanderveer Group. TVG’s owner, the healthcare marketing services firm PDI, plans to exit the market research business by the end of August – though TVG management is in talks to buy the brand and continue trading independently.

Healthcare company mergers, healthcare reform, a “dearth” of new drugs being marketed and patent expiry of existing blockbuster agents are all lessening demand for market research, while procurement departments are taking much of the profit out of those research projects that are being commissioned, says Vanderveer.

“Put all this together and one can begin to foresee a world devoid of pharmaceutical marketing research agencies as we know them, as groups of various sizes and shapes are sequentially required to close their doors based on an ever-tightening squeeze on profitability,” he warns.

Read Vanderveer’s comments in full here.