From The Editor | October 7, 2010

The Need For Real-World Examples

Dan Schell author page headshot

By Dan Schell, Editorial Director, Life Science Leader

If you’re a regular reader of Life Science Leader, you probably know by now that I love getting feedback on our articles.

One email, in particular, about last month’s issue, really made me think about the type of content we provide each month. The reader, who asked to remain anonymous, suggested we solicit more case study-like material to support some of the best practices espoused in many of our articles. Doing so would give readers more of a real world look at the decisions that led to and support those best practices.

Frankly, I couldn’t agree more, but there are two problems.

First — and this is a big one — in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, many companies are tight-lipped when it comes to divulging anything regarding successful business strategies or implementations, much less the problems that led up to those implementations. I’ve actually worked on articles that have been scrubbed clean of any valuable details by PR or legal departments, leaving only a shell of generalities and promotional gobbledygook that wouldn’t be useful to any of our readers.

Second, while I see the anecdotal value case studies can offer, when presented on their own, they often can be viewed as too promotional for the solution being implemented. Hence the conundrum I am faced with when offered case studies from vendors.

I think this month’s article by contributing editor John Centofanti (page 32) is a good example of the balance that can be achieved when incorporating end user anecdotes into an article about a particular topic. In this case, the article discusses the benefits of an accelerated proof-of-concept program and includes an example from CRO Cetero Research about its success with this model.  

If I am wrong about how willing pharma and biotech companies are to talk about the business problems they’ve encountered and the solutions they’ve instituted — please tell me. Or, if you have a story to tell that you think our readers would benefit from, let me know.