A look back at Pharma in 2009

So much has changed this year that it's hard to believe January 1, 2009 was almost 12 months ago. President Obama took office, bringing new leadership for the FDA and with it a new approach to regulating pharma. Plus, there was that little item on the new president's tasks-to-tackle-first list: Healthcare reform. Efforts to overhaul the U.S. healthcare system started early. So did drugmakers' efforts to bend legislation in a favorable direction, marked most notably by the industry's $80 billion cost-cutting deal with the Senate and White House.

Outside of government, Big Pharma was busy making big M&A deals--or studiously avoiding big deals in favor of smaller strategic buys. Companies continued their drive to streamline sales by cutting jobs and restructuring, and thousands of layoffs outside sales were announced, too. And beginning in the spring, the H1N1 flu pandemic kept drug and vaccine makers busy developing shots and ramping up production.

Given the fact that we started 2009 in economic freefall, the outlook was a bit wary then. Despite the uncertainty and turmoil in world markets, the drug industry managed quite a lot of progress this year. Now, credit markets have found a new equilibrium and unemployment appears to have slowed down, if not bottomed out, so 2010 is looking up. Stay tuned for more news on our website through New Year's; we'll be back with the daily newsletter January 4. Have a happy holiday season! - Tracy