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Cutting R&D to Save Innovation

The pharmaceutical industry needs help — it is facing drastic cuts in personnel, pipelines drying up, patent cliffs looming, a lack of innovation. Many critics of the pharmaceutical industry say it doesn't help that companies are cutting back on R&D, either. But pharma veteran Bernard Munos says cutting R&D is actually what's going to save the industry, according to Forbes' Matthew Herper. Munos has seven rules for "medical innovation," Herper says, and they are:

1. Regain the trust of physicians, regulators, and payers.
2. Stop chasing blockbusters, which help lots of people a little bit, and start chasing breakthroughs, which help patients a lot.
3. Do what works. Stop trying to manage drug discovery with Six Sigma processes.
4. Lower costs with collaborative research.
5. Mitigate risk by developing lots of potential breakthroughs, not by trying to develop projects that seem low-risk. History says the risk is never low.
6. Don't move anything into human trials unless it is a potential breakthrough.
7. Cut research and development.

Rather than do the work in-house with huge research staffs, and giant labs, trying to find one big drug that will make a lot of money, but not much difference for patients, Munos says pharmaceutical companies should outsource their R&D to small start-up companies that are still fresh, have some imagination, and are willing to take risks, Herper reports.

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