51st Annual General Meeting of the P-D-R 2009

The Pharma Documentation Ring (P-D-R) held its 51st Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Leesburg, Virginia, USA from the 22nd – 25th September 2009. The P-D-R is an association whose members represent the scientific information departments of the leading international R&D-based pharmaceutical corporations. There was one new corporate member (Takeda) added during the previous 12 months. The 24 member companies continue to account for approximately 60% of the total global turnover of ethical drugs (approximately $500 billion); by far the majority of the top 20 global pharmaceutical companies are P-D-R members.

Thirty-three delegates attended this year’s meeting, which was co-hosted by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co. In addition, there were guest speakers from Chemical Abstracts Service and Elsevier. The New England Journal of Medicine and the Copyright Clearance Center hosted an enjoyable informal reception for the delegates prior to the official opening of the meeting.

Henning Nielsen (Novo Nordisk), President of the P-D-R, in his opening remarks stated that the global financial crisis is impacting the pharmaceutical industry less than the apparent innovation crisis and the inherent challenges facing the industry in the form of patent expiries, regulatory uncertainty, increased pressures on pricing, and mergers. Whether the reason is the financial crisis or innovation gap it is causing a lot of changes in the industry. The themes of this year’s meeting addressed the transformations taking place within the pharmaceutical industry. These themes included: social media, Information Management roles and responsibilities, networked business models, IM strategies and the Ideal Corporate Information Center.

As in previous years, two of the principal highlights of the meeting were the discussions on two strategic topics that had been identified prior to the meeting. The two selected topics for 2009 were

  • Hot Topics
  • IM Strategies in a Changing Pharma Environment

The “Hot Topics” session drew its inspiration from the “unconference” format in that the session ideas were generated by the attendees and represented topics that were of immediate and/or current interest to them. They included “ The IM Organization of the Future”, “Approaches to Reducing Content Spend”, “Marketing the IM Function”, “Positioning Information Professionals for the Future”, and “Information Services-related Metrics.”

The “IM Strategies” session included presentations by Elsevier and ACS which highlighted the successes they have had using social media in their businesses. Rafael Sidi, of Elsevier, described how Twitter is affecting Elsevier’s business and how they are using it to better support their customers. He presented a vision of a future information platform which is open and able to provide actionable information. Alex Kim, of ACS, highlighted some of the successes they have been having incorporating social media and web 2.0 features into their websites and journals.

The second half of the “IM Strategies” session featured a presentation by Dee Mater, (Abbott) who gave a report of a Cost and Value survey which sought to understand the ROI of the Information Center. Craig Funt (Bristol-Myers Squibb) then presented on BMS’ evolving networked business model and how the IM function was adapting in support of it.

Each of the P-D-R topic groups organized a portion of the agenda which highlighted areas of interest within that group. The Library Affairs and Copyright topic group brought forth a draft version of a “Blueprint for an Ideal Corporate Information Center (ICIC) and How to Measure its Return on Investment.” The paper looks at the functions of the ICIC and its place within the corporation as well as presenting best and worst case examples. After soliciting feedback from the members, the group plans to finalize and submit the paper for publication. Other topics presented ranged from Clinical Trial and Product Literature databases to use of SharePoint within companies to reviews of chemical information sources.

An ongoing feature of the P-D-R AGM is the review of information-related developments within the member companies over the previous twelve months. Common themes that emerged this year were the use of SharePoint as an enterprise platform, portfolio-level evaluations of content driven by changing business models, newly available products and the need to cut or balance budgets.

At the end of the meeting, the existing P-D-R Board was re-elected for a period of two years starting in January 2010: Henning Nielsen (Novo Nordisk) will continue as president, and Lou Ann Di Nallo (BMS), Claudia Körner (Bayer HealthCare), and Matthias Staab (Sanofi-Aventis) will continue in their respective positions. The 52nd P-D-R AGM will be held in Konstanz, Germany from September 28th – October 1st, 2010 and will be hosted by Nycomed.