Have cost cuts boosted pharma execs' confidence?

Pharma executives are gaining confidence about their futures, a new survey shows, but that confidence is coming at a price. Some 42 percent of industry execs say their confidence has risen since the beginning of 2010; that's the good news. The not-so-good is that more than half of those same executives say they're cutting spending, and almost 40 percent say they're freezing or cutting pay, and/or eliminating jobs.

"The findings show that businesses...are taking steps to tackle the challenging economic climate," Janet Knowles, partner in charge of the life sciences practice at Eversheds, the law firm that sponsored the survey.

There are some rays of sunshine in the survey. Though 45 percent of the executives say they're investing in staff reorganizations--which usually means job cuts--almost half said they're plowing money into new products and services, while 45 percent say they're focusing on improving relationships with customers.

"There are encouraging signs of a general trend towards reducing cost-cutting measures in the year ahead and a greater desire to invest and focus on growth," Knowles says. For the sake of everyone in pharma, let's hope so.

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