Bloggers and industry types have taken notice of John Castellani's (photo) new role as PhRMA's chief, and they're lining up to give him some unsolicited advice. The In Vivo blog welcomed guest contributor Ian Spatz, former VP of global health policy at Merck, to present a "modest to-do list" for Castellani. As Spatz says, "The nation's pharmaceutical companies need some extraordinary leadership right now."
In Vivo praises Castellani's predecessor, Billy Tauzin, for his efforts in many of these fields, but there's always room for improvement. The blog figures that the industry's reputation should be Castellani's number one priority. "Everything flows from success in improving the industry's low standing among policy makers and the public." The six other bullet points--medical and scientific relations, congressional relations, transparency, media relations, drug safety and drug marketing and promotion--are all means in which Castellani could improve pharma's lagging reputation.
The most timely issue--drug safety--is being hotly pursued in FDA meetings this week. The two-day Avandia meeting has exposed some rifts within the FDA, and observers figure the agency will be making some big changes, which gives PhRMA an open door to enter the fray, Spatz says. "Castellani and PhRMA should seize the opportunity to avoid playing defense and come up with some ideas on their own that will give concerned members of Congress something to support."