Does the TVG collapse signal start of a trend?

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Citing decreased demand, pharmaceutical promotional support firm PDI said it planned to exit its TVG Marketing Research & Consulting business unit last month.

PDI said it will record a third-quarter charge of about $2.3 million and added that it is working with a limited group of TVG management to continue to provide market research services under the TVG name on an independent basis.

“Changes in the healthcare industry, including various mergers and acquisitions as well as sweeping healthcare reform, have resulted in a significant decrease in demand for market research,” said Nancy Lurker, CEO of PDI, in a statement.

That prompted Richard Vanderveer, who founded TVG in 1979 as The Vanderveer Group, to speculate as to whether a wave of closures could be in store, including among some of the mega-agencies that now exist.
“One can begin to foresee a world devoid of pharmaceutical marketing research agencies as we know them, as groups of various sizes and shapes are sequentially required to close their doors based on an ever-tightening squeeze on profitability,” wrote Vanderveer, who is now CEO of global marketing-research firm GfK Healthcare.

Vanderveer called the lack of new drug launches combined with the long list of blockbuster agents facing patent expiry a “one-two punch in and of itself [that] has substantially reduced the pharmaceutical industry's marketing research spend.”

Another factor, Vanderveer wrote, is the growing role of clients' purchasing and procurement departments.
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