Blind Emulation Of Industries Like Technology & Entertainment Can Kill Pharma Firms & People!

But therein lies the rub… pharma cannot completely be like other industries. The writers give examples of how it can learn from archetypical firms like Intel and Disney…. and the steelmaker, Nucor, which left me completely amazed.

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McKinsey Quarterly, a business and strategy  journal I respect and enjoy reading, did a recent article “Pharma manufacturing for a new era: The sector can restore lost value by focusing intently on manufacturing innovation.” This was one that I found logical sounding, but also found difficult to completely agree with.

It is an interesting analysis of what pharmaceutical industry players need to do, to be more like other big industries, in manufacturing operations. But therein lies the rub… pharma cannot completely be like other industries. The writers give examples of how it can learn from archetypical firms like Intel and Disney…. and the steelmaker, Nucor, which left me completely amazed.

Pharmaceutical firms face existential threats not because they do not have cool manufacturing plants like Intel, but when they spend billions in what can sometimes be nothing more than a scientific educated gamble. They can come up with something that “seems to work OK” and  then be denied the right to sell the resulting product — as it may have side-effects no one can predict — because the ultimate recipient, the human body, is still such a mystery. 

Keep in mind, I am no defender of pharma, much less any big industry. But, I want them to get a fair shake. Like many industries that get too big, and can (seem to) make “obscene” profits in the eyes of people, pharma gets the worse of both words compared to banking, oil companies, etc.

On the one hand people accuse them of exploiting suffering and on the other hand complain about the lack of more blockbuster drugs. That is not even counting the conspiracy theorists and others who suggest governments and pharma companies conspire to sit on cures for things like cancer “to make more money.” {How NOT selling a cure and sitting on it makes more money they are unable to explain}.

We want firms to fund billions in research at their own risk, but ask them to throw it away the minute one patient in a trial dies of a heart attack (as happened just this week with a major drug trial). We put them through onerous processes that can take years, if not decades, then we complain about the time to market for new drugs. We look the other way when they lose billions on a failed drug, but then complain when they finally make a profit on something that (seems to) work… at least until some unknown side-effect pops up years later.

Much that we like Utopian ideals of only launching drugs that have no side-effects, and cost very little, we cannot forget that we live in the real world.

Intel can design a new version of a chip, usually based on an existing architecture, or even a new one entirely, but most likely targeted at one of its usual areas… e.g. CPUs for PCs, or cell phones. Pharma does not have the luxury of saying, we will keep redesigning and launching new versions of a drug every 90 days going after the same sore-throat market as the existing product.

Intel can decide to enter a new industry, say, chips for car entertainment systems, but using almost all the same core knowledge, with the same known laws of physics, electronics engineering and manufacturing, that they use for their other chips. Even if they decide to go into some new type of ASIC (application specific integrated circuit), they can use existing knowledge, skills, processes, people, manufacturing and some levels of innovation to quickly bring the chip to market, seed it to OEMs, see how it works, and go back to designing the next version improving on the last one. They do not have to wait for a trial of 100,000 devices over 2-5 years while they await approval from a government authority (like the FDA in USA) before they can actually “launch” or monetize the product. 

The writers’ giving the example of Disney in a discussion on pharmaceuticals left me even more puzzled. Yes, DIsney went from a movies-based business into an entertainment conglomerate, but how does that relate to pharmaceutical manufacturing? Should pharma firms start selling soda, chocolates and cigarettes to move from being a medicine-based business to a “conglomerate of products that go down people’s throats“?

The final comparison the article above makes is to the steel industry, mentioning Nucor. I am sorry, but which one of us would like to have our medicines, that go into our mouths, stomachs, hearts, brains, and bloodstreams, be made by pharma companies that somehow emulate (no disrespect to steelworkers) the steel industry!?

Yes, pharma firms need to focus more on strategy (all industries do), and learn from every other industry what makes sense to learn and emulate. Yes, they need more innovation (all industries do). Yes, we all know, almost any known product or manufacturing process in the world can be improved. NO, you cannot emulate Disney, Intel and Nucor to somehow become more successful in creating, manufacturing, and delivering safe, reliable, inexpensive, drugs that will win approval, of authorities, doctors and the rest of us.

Such blind emulation of other industries like Technology, Steel & Entertainment can kill not just the Pharma industry, but real people, like us!

How To Think Clearly Before You Buy A Motorcycle!

I realized something a lot of people may rather forget. In the 30 years since my first Yamaha, the bike I owned went from 100cc street legal dirt bike weighing probably 100 lbs to a 600cc monster of power (max speed 165 mph) weighing 350 lbs, while my body, though fairly fit, has gone from that of a 150 lbs. 18 year old to a man nearing 200 lbs. and 50, even if not feeling (or looking, LOL) it.

I just read an interesting article in BusinessWeek, How to Buy a Motorcycle by Mitch Daniels.

I love motorcycles. (Of course, I love flying, boating, driving German cars, and motorcycles, in that order!).

My Dad bought me my first (and until recently only) motorcycle, a Yamaha Enduro in Pakistan in 1981-82, when they were still imported from Japan.

Twenty years later, in about 2001-2002, here in the USA, I went to go buy another bike because I wanted to enjoy them while I was physically fit. (I prefer racing style bikes to hogs). I figured the under $200 monthly payment was worth it, but was dissuaded by the shocking price of comprehensive insurance.

The insurance company was treating me like a new rider considering how long I had not ridden officially. (I did take friend’s bikes in Pakistan for occasional spins during trips there in that time).

So, 10 more years went by, but as I near 50, I took the leap and last year at my birthday, got myself a gorgeous 2011 Yamaha YZF-R6.

The R1 was just a couple thousand dollars more, and a year older unsold Kawasaki 1400cc was just a thousand more on clearance. It was very tempting. But, I realized the few thousand dollars more was worth the price of the toy but not the almost certain guarantee to have too much power and get myself killed.

However, even though I decided on the 600cc, even after the R6 was delivered to me, I did not ride it until I had taken three riding classes.

I was delighted at how the instructors were pleasantly surprised that I did not need classes but took them anyway. And I am glad I did. I still learnt so much more. I had all the mechanical and riding skills to pass my test, but the lessons, the tips, the advice, the stories of how people get in trouble, made the riding classes a great investment.

I realized something a lot of people may rather forget. In the 30 years since my first Yamaha, the bike I owned went from 100cc street legal dirt bike weighing probably 100 lbs to a 600cc monster of power (max speed 165 mph) weighing 350 lbs, while my body, though fairly fit, has gone from that of a 150 lbs. 18 year old to a man nearing 200 lbs. and 50, even if not feeling (or looking, LOL) it.

I also bought, and read, books like Proficient Motorcycling, and others, and learned even more. In about 8 months, including winter in NY, I put nearly 4000 miles on the bike and loved every minute of it.

I believe in the adage that at the end of life we regret the things we did not do more than the ones we did (and shouldn’t have). But, keep in mind, there are many cases of people where the purchase of a motorcycle more than they could handle led to a hastened end of life.

So, be very, very careful in making this decision. I did not regret it and am blessed so far. But I realize, one false move, even from an inattentive car driver on the road, can mean the end for me.

Choose wisely. Ride safe. I’ll see you on the road.

Keep Track Of Road Rules: Rule The Road And Track! IMRAN #Yam... on Twitpic

Imran Anwar on Imran Khan: Why The Future Of Awakened Pakistan Is Not In One Man’s Hands

“National destinies are created by people, not by leaders, dictators, pedagogues, or sycophants. Pakistan needs to be saved not from America, but from (illiterate, violent, extremist, close-minded, crooked, corrupt) Pakistanis, by Pakistanis (who still believe in the great future that the nation is capable of achieving).” ~ Imran Anwar

The news media are buzzing about a rather large political protest gathering that took place in Pakistan. People seem galvanized and gravitating more to a national hero Cricket player, turned populist politician. Much that I am happy to see the silent majority Pakistani public starting to rise, I do not have much hope for the person they are following, even though I like and respect him. Here’s why.

Imran Khan was about a decade ahead of me at Aitchison College, Lahore, Pakistan, and about 100 years ahead of me in popularity (and dashing good looks 🙂 ). He will always have my respect for sacrificing his popularity not for wealth but for a Cancer Hospital (in the memory of his late mother). With that one mission in life, he has done more good than Zardari, Benazir Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Pervez Musharaff combined could do – even if they had tried.

However, there were two reasons Imran Khan struggled in his quest for national power.

Initially it was the typical curse of Third World countries like Pakistan… the same “awam” (عوام – public/populace) that curses crooked politicians is also the one that votes them in to power. Why? Because the crooks are the ones who will help peddle influence illegally, to get things done when voters ask for favors. Someone supposedly aboveboard will not. So, he, like Imran Khan, will stay on the fringe and not get real power. This one sad realization was one major reason I said good bye to my political aspirations in Pakistan when I left 20 years ago. (I do salute Imran Khan for staying and putting up a good fight, even at great personal risk).

Now that the Arab Spring in the Middle East, the Occupy Wall Street in the United States, and far more importantly, the middle class uprising in India against corruption has vested interests and tyrants (political and economic) running for cover, Imran Khan may have a real chance.

But, that brings us to the second serious problem. He is still hampered by lack of any clear (articulated) PLAN that he would execute on, if he was in power. Even his speech in his largest rally (which is being reported on by media including the New York Times, etc.) was another “letdown”.

Richard Nixon meeting with President Bhutto of...Image via Wikipedia
The only Pakistani leader who could get away with rambling speeches, and still have a million people or more listening and jumping into action, was the late, once-great, later-tyrannical, deposed and hanged Prime Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Imran Khan is nowhere near that man’s stature, statesmanlike quality, popularity, or even vision. In the end, even with his charisma (that Bill Clinton would want to learn from), speaking ability (that Barack Obama would dream of achieving without a teleprompter), it was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s hubris, putting the interests of his crooked henchmen ahead of the nation’s, and having no more vision and plan beyond getting re-elected, that got him hanged by General Zia-ul-Haq and the military.
Picture of imran khan infront of the flag of P...Image via Wikipedia
Imran Khan needs to do more than gather 100,000 people (and make a meaningless speech).

Even I can make a speech about what the problems in Pakistan are, name who the crooks are, and why we need to solve the problems….

But, without saying HOW I would solve the problems, WHO I would have as my trusted and nationally trusted lieutenants to execute the plan, I too would be as useless in power as Imran Khan will be – if he does by some twist of fate find himself in government.

Unfortunately, even 15 years in politics getting to this point, Imran Khan, whom I would love to see in power compared to the current crop of so-called leaders, has neither stated his vision, nor articulated his strategy, and neither has he shared a roadmap and execution plan. That is what makes Pakistan’s leadership void doubly sad.

Even worse, regardless of his Western education and former lifestyle, Khan’s current wave of popularity is driven by a populist state-the-obvious (politicians are crooks and have done nothing for Pakistan), blame-USA fervor (while sometimes sounding like a Taliban apologist).

Yes, the current leaders and even the opposition are crooks. News Flash: So are the ones in the USA and other countries. (Italy‘s Premier could give Pakistan’s Asif Ali Zardari a run for the money and the scandalous behavior).  Yes, the USA has a shameful record in Pakistan. Yes, Pakistan’s spineless sellout leaders have allowed even more exploitation for their own power. But, Pakistan had economic problems since independence. It has had ethnic near-civil war in different regions for decades before 9/11 or America’s arrival in Afghanistan.

Without addressing specific problems that Pakistanis themselves tolerate — and allow their leaders to create — neither the cronyism-loving leaders, populist personalities, nor well-intentioned analysts, or worse, power-hungry dictatorial generals, can change the country’s future.

As I have said in my own public speaking and on radio & television…. “National destinies are created by people, not by leaders, dictators, pedagogues, or sycophants. Pakistan needs to be saved not from America, but from (illiterate, violent, extremist, close-minded, crooked, corrupt) Pakistanis, by Pakistanis (who still believe in the great future that the nation is capable of achieving).”

What do you think?

© 2011 Imran Anwar
IMRAN.TV

 

 

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Have American Airlines Pilots Become Paranoid Bathroom Attendants?

I am thankful that 9/11 2011 passed solemnly and uneventfully from a security perspective, but I remain concerned, and we must remain vigilant. We are not out of danger, and we are all in this together.

Like everyone else, I was seriously concerned about the threat of new terror attacks on the 10th Anniversary of September 11. I was more worried about vehicle borne or even lone wolf suicide bombings than someone still managing to pull off a terror attack using jet airliners.

So, I read with interest the news reports of two separate planes that caused national security alerts, with fighter jets being scrambled, and passengers being questioned, after landing, for their… drum roll… extended use of the airliner toilets.

news item in particular was very strange… An American Airlines “pilot became nervous when he noticed that several passengers were making frequent trips to the bathroom.”

I am all for safety and being alert, especially on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, but what kind of airliner pilot is more focused on how many people are going to the bathroom than flying the darn plane? Is he SuperPilot that he can see through the locked cockpit door? Or did some ditsy (male or female) flight attendant cause the scare? They should consider taking a job in a restaurant to keep track of bathroom visits by patrons.

Also, I am all for a couple deciding to make out on planes, trains and automobiles, but (if that is indeed what had happened on aFrontier Airlines flight) for a couple to try pulling that off (no pun intended) in an aircraft toilet on 9/11 suggests the Moron gene’s presence.

Maybe airlines should not issue coupons (like drink coupons) on how many times and for how long passengers can go to the bathroom. eBay can set up a new marketplace to trade in toilet time futures.

A separate news report during the hunt for possible terror plotters mentioned how police were searching for stolen vans and similar vehicles.

That made me think… how dumb must be those retards who would steal any vehicle, much less a potential bomb-carrying-capable van on or around 9/11. I really wish they get caught, and even if they’re simply Grand Theft Auto fans, I hope they are shipped to Guantanamo for the crime of being extra stupid, and for causing extra concern for the whole nation.

Finally, I am thankful that 9/11 2011 passed solemnly and uneventfully from a security perspective, but I remain concerned, and we must remain vigilant. We are not out of danger, and we are all in this together.

What were your thoughts on 9/11/2011 and how have your thinking and you changed since 9/11/2001 ?

 

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Osama On Obama. What’s Different Behind Latest Tape?

Osama On Obama. What’s Different Behind Latest Tape?

Osama Bin Laden’s latest tape talks about Barack Obama but the tone is different from before. Imran Anwar’s short but insightful analysis helps you understand what it means.

© IMRAN 2009
Web: www.imran.com
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Tags: IMRAN, ImranAnwar, Video, Opinion, Commentary, Politics, Terrorism, Taliban, AlQaeda, Pakistan, America, Obama, Bush, Afghanistan, OsamaBinLaden

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IMRAN.TV: (Urdu) “What Are People’s Expectations From Obama?”

Imran Anwar, IMRAN.TV, New York, Local video feed clip of Urdu TV channel’s question:

Q. What are people’s expectations of President Barack Hussein Obama?

What is your opinion?

Category: News & Politics