CEO of Campbell Alliance Authors Book on the Pharmaceutical Industry and How It Works

October 11, 2005


Campbell Alliance, the premier management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, today announced that CEO John Campbell has authored a book on how pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies work.  The book, titled Understanding Pharma, dissects eight key functional areas of a typical company and explains how they work together to discover, develop, and commercialize drugs.  It is the first book to systematically explain how the typical pharmaceutical company operates, function by function.  Understanding Pharma is being published by the Pharmaceutical Institute, the leading provider of specialized knowledge for pharma and biotech professionals.


The basis of Mr. Campbell’s book stems from almost 15 years serving the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, including senior roles at GlaxoWellcome (now GlaxoSmithKline) before founding Campbell Alliance in 1997. 


“Over the years, I’ve learned that the most effective teams are those that have a solid cross-functional understanding of the industry and knowledge of how their functional areas must work and interact with others.  Avoiding the ‘silo’ mentality is key to improving collaboration, as well as efficiency and effectiveness within companies,” said Mr. Campbell.  Understanding Pharma is designed to serve as an excellent educational tool for industry newcomers, journalists, and people who provide services to the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, as well as a useful reference for industry veterans,” he added.


Understanding Pharma covers the gamut of the inner workings of a pharmaceutical company in its more than 250 pages.  Eight of its 12 chapters are devoted to individual functional areas:  Discovery, Drug Development, Manufacturing, Distribution, Business Development, Marketing and Brand Management, Managed Markets, and Sales.  Each of these chapters describes the function’s basic responsibilities and its importance to the larger organization; provides details on the function’s key tasks, processes, and activities; discusses how the function is typically organized; and describes any supporting functions normally associated with it. 


For example,


§         Discovery covers milestones in the discovery process, as well as new discovery methods

§         Drug Development outlines the various phases from preclinical through clinical development

§         Manufacturing explains the processes involved in producing a drug product for clinical trials and ultimately for commercial use

§         Distribution gives an overview of how the product gets from manufacturing sites to the consumer

§         Business Development explains the events and considerations involved in the in-licensing of products to build a company’s pipeline

§         Marketing and Brand Management outlines this function’s role in activities beginning before product launch and moving through the product’s commercial life cycle

§         Managed Markets provides an overview of payers, health plans, customers, and how pharma and biotech companies build strategies to address this market

§         Sales covers how sales reps are trained and compensated, how they prepare for and execute sales calls, the diverse ways a sales organization can be organized, and the purpose and process of prescriber segmentation

Additional chapters in the book include


§         Introduction, which provides a historical overview of the pharma industry dating back to 1800, compares traditional pharma companies with more newly emerged biotech companies, and examines public safety and government regulatory bodies

§         What Is a drug? which drills deep into the definition of a drug, including explanations of active pharmaceutical ingredients, mechanism of action, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug categories, and indications

§         Pharma Customers, which provides a detailed profile of the customers targeted by pharma companies, including prescribers, patients, payers, and health plans. 


Understanding Pharma also contains a useful appendix that provides an inside look at the make-up of the pharma industry’s corporate infrastructure, including finance, human resources, information technology, and legal departments.


Understanding Pharma is a must-read for anyone in the pharma industry—those new to the industry, industry veterans, and those serving the industry.  The book is available for $89.95 through the Pharmaceutical Institute.  For more information or to purchase the book, please visit



About Campbell Alliance


Campbell Alliance is the leading management consulting firm specializing in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The firm's clients include most of the world's "top 20" pharmaceutical companies, as well as numerous emerging and midsize firms. Campbell Alliance is organized into practice areas, each specializing in a critical industry function, including Brand Management, Business Development, Clinical Development, Managed Markets, and Sales. From its locations in Raleigh, N.C., Parsippany, N.J., Woodland Hills, Calif., San Bruno, Calif., and New York City, the firm serves clients throughout North America, Europe, and Japan.  For more information on Campbell Alliance, please visit


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