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Devalued and Distrusted: Can the Pharmaceutical Industry Restore its Broken Image?

ISBN: 978-1-118-48747-1
136 pages
January 2013
Devalued and Distrusted: Can the Pharmaceutical Industry Restore its Broken Image? (1118487478) cover image


An expert's view on solving the challenges confronting today's pharmaceutical industry

Author John LaMattina, a thirty-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry and former president of Pfizer's Global R&D Division, is internationally recognized as an expert on the pharmaceutical industry. His first book, Drug Truths: Dispelling the Myths About Pharma R&D, was critically acclaimed for clearing up misconceptions about the pharmaceutical industry and providing an honest account of the contributions of pharmaceutical research and development to human health and well-being.

As he toured the country discussing Drug Truths, Dr. LaMattina regularly came across people who were filled with anger, accusing the pharmaceutical industry of making up diseases, hiding dangerous side effects, and more. This book was written in response to that experience, critically examining public perceptions and industry realities.

Starting with "4 Secrets that Drug Companies Don't Want You to Know," Devalued and Distrusted provides a fact-based account of how the pharmaceutical industry works and the challenges it faces. It addresses such critical issues as:

  • Why pharmaceutical R&D productivity has declined
  • Where pharmaceutical companies need to invest their resources
  • What can be done to solve core health challenges, including cancer, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases
  • How the pharmaceutical industry can regain public trust and resuscitate its image

Our understanding of human health and disease grows daily; however, converting science into medicine is increasingly challenging. Reading Devalued and Distrusted, you'll not only gain a greater appreciation of those challenges, but also the role that the pharmaceutical industry currently plays and can play in solving those challenges.

Get to know the author: Read an interview with John LaMattina or watch a video on ChemistryViews!

Interview: John LaMattina: 30 Years in Pharma

Video: Can the Pharmaceutical Industry Restory its Broken Image?

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Table of Contents




Drug Companies Underestimate Dangerous Side Effects 5

Drug Companies Control Much of the Information Your Doctor Gets 10

You’re Often Prescribed Drugs That You Don’t Need 14

Drugs Target the Symptoms, Not the Cause 19

Conclusion 22

References 23


Impact of Mergers on R&D Productivity 26

Heightened FDA Requirements for NDAs 34

Higher Hurdles Set by Payers 41

Conclusion 46

References 48


Cancer 51

Diseases of the Brain 54

Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) 60

Diabetes 63

Bacterial Infections 65

Conclusion 68

References 69


The Views of Others 72

Pharma’s Blockbuster Mentality Needs to Change 72

Can “Predictive Innovation” Lead to Greater Success Rates? 76

Would Royalties Make Scientists More Productive? 78

Will Drug Repositioning Help Fill the R&D Pipeline? 80

Consultants Don’t Always Have the Facts 82

Personal Views 84

Discovery Must Focus on Productivity 85

Does Size Help or Hinder R&D Productivity? 87

To Outsource or Not to Outsource? That’s the Pharma R&D Question 89

Big Pharma Early Research Collaborations 92

Conclusion 93

References 95


Illegal Detailing of Drugs 97

Pharmaceutical Companies Should Drop TV Ads 98

The Need for Greater Transparency 100

How Committed Is Big Pharma to Rare Diseases? 102

Pharmaceutical Companies and Philanthropy 104

Pharma Needs to Have Its Scientists Tell Their Stories 105

Conclusion 106

References 107


References 114


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Author Information

JOHN L. LaMATTINA, PHD, retired as president of Pfizer's Global Research and Development in 2007, where he managed more than 13,000 scientists and support professionals in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Dr. LaMattina has received numerous honors and awards, including an Honorary Doctor of Science from the University of New Hampshire. Currently a Senior Partner with PureTech Ventures, he is the author of Drug Truths: Dispelling the Myths About Pharma R&D (Wiley).

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"Oz should invite LaMattina back on his show.  Since LaMattina treats all concerns respectfully, Oz needn’t worry about feeling devalued or distrusted."  (Barron's, 5 May 2014)

“This is an honest book by an insider who believes in the basic good that the industry does.”  (The Quarterly Review of Biology, 1 September 2013)

“Summing Up:  Recommended.  General audiences.”  (Choice, 1 September 2013)

“For those more loosely associated or aspiring to work with in it, I particularly recommend this book as a balanced and informative read on the pressures the industry faces. It should also provide the basis for more reasoned argument and forewarn anyone else potentially ambushed by a TV show.”  (ChemMedChem, 19 July 2013)

“That said, the suggestions made by LaMattina for improvements in productivity and transparency are timely, and the book makes interesting if unexciting reading.”  (Chemistry & Industry, 1 June 2013)

“John LaMattina (ex-head of Pfizer's global R&D) has a new book out about the industry, called Devalued and Distrusted.  He tells Pharmalot that he got the idea to write a sequel to his earlier book, Drug Truths, when he appeared on the "Dr. Oz" show.”  (In The Pipeline, 1 December 2012)


“ … the book is laden with so many facts, critical insights and pearls of wisdom that it deserves the attention of a wide audience, from lay people to professionals in R&D, medicine, government, business and mass media. Dr. LaMatina has performed a public service by drawing on his broad experience to clarify the issues and the many challenges that have to be faced if progress in therapeutic molecular medicine is to continue, and to illuminate the ongoing tensions that are bound to arise with ever increasing risks and costs in pharma and biotech R&D, never-perfect new medicines and constantly rising consumer expectations and government involvement.”—E J Corey, Harvard University

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Related Websites / Extra


 Watch a video with the author, John LaMattina, on ChemistryViews. He discusses his book Devalued and Distrusted: Can the Pharmaceutical Industry Restore its Broken Image?

Interview Read and interview with the author, John LaMattina. He talks to Jonathan Rose for ChemViews magazine about the changes and challenges he has seen in the pharma industry during his 30 years with Pfizer, some of the common misconceptions about drug companies, and how to change them.
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Press Release

December 04, 2012
Can the Pharmaceutical Industry Restore Its Broken Image?

While the pharmaceutical industry can play an important role in converting the knowledge generated by the Human Genome Project into new medicines, it also faces a popular perception that it is simply out to make money by promoting unsafe medicines to an unsuspecting public.

Devalued and Distrusted: Can the Pharmaceutical Industry Restore Its Broken Image? offers a balanced view of the role of drug discovery in improving public health.

The author, former Pfizer president John LaMattina addresses the progress that industry has made in improving its abilities to measure both risk and benefits of its new medicines, and then tackles the issue of R&D productivity -- the reasons for the drop-off, and how the industry can rehabilitate its image.

Devalued and Distrusted is intended to provide patients, physicians, regulators, and payers with an appreciation of these issues as well as the value that pharmaceutical R&D adds to society.

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