The certainty of uncertainty

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So how was it for you? 2007, that is. Well, if you are a large pharma company, chances are you have a smaller sales force than you did at the start of the year, perhaps even a smaller pipeline. If you are an agency, you are probably concerned by the dearth of genuinely new molecules and genuinely talented people you can hire to work on these accounts.

If you're into CME, then you will likely have spent several weeks trying to second-guess what Congress will have you do next in the name of ethical education and quality outcomes. And if you are in medical publishing…well, sometimes survival alone can be an achievement.

Unfortunately, with an election year coming up and a host of patent expirations on the horizon, not to mention an increasingly twitchy FDA, the likelihood is that more uncertainty lies ahead.
Over the past few years, the December issue of MM&M has come to represent our annual stab at crystal-ball-gazing for the year ahead. And while we can't claim to have all the answers, we have certainly stepped up the caliber of our hired “clairvoyants” this year.

In "Electile Dysfunction," Matthew Arnold taps into the prophetic wisdom of Deutsche Bank analyst Barbara Ryan, Peter Pitts of Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, ACNielsen HCI's C. Marshall Paul, BBDO NY's Tom Lom, John Kamp of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication and WEGO Health's Jack Barrette, as well as the research-driven insights of IMS Health and TNS. It's a compelling, albeit bumpy, ride.

Then in :Rubin's Rubric," one of the most respected analysts in the industry, Morgan Stanley's Jami Rubin, gives Warren Ross her top picks for new drugs in 2008, along with her predictions for trends. Rubin is not one to mix her words either,

describing one particular Big Pharma business deal as “a shocking example of terrible capital allocation.”

We round out the Outlook Issue with our annual Pipeline Report featuring more than 250 drugs in development. And to help us choose the most important treatments and vaccines, further to taking the advice of Morgan Stanley's Rubin, we also enlisted the services of analysts from GfK Market Measures and Berstein Research. And, for the first time, we used Adis R&D Insights' Ratings to help determine those products with the highest potential. Adis, a Wolters Kluwer Health company, uses a 100-point scale to evaluate the clinical potential of late-stage agents on to up to 20 criteria—the higher the score, the greater the therapeutic advantage over existing therapies. See if you agree with the picks.

Party season
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part in the MM&M Awards for helping to make it such a success. This year's program broke all records, with more than 750 submissions and an unbelievable 800 attendees at the black-tie presentation evening in New York last month. And what a night it turned out to be. Congratulations to all winners, and in case you missed it, you can find some great pictures on pages 38-39, and a list of winners online at mmm-online.com.

Whatever 2008 should bring, I wish all our readers the happiest of holidays and the best of luck for the New Year.

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