Subscribe

Forum

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Welcome to the newly redesigned Science Careers Forum. Please bookmark this site now for future reference. If you've previously posted to the forum, your current username and password will remain the same in the new system. If you've never posted or are new to the forum, you will need to create a new account.

The new forum is designed with some features to improve the user experience. Upgrades include:
- easy-to-read, threaded discussions
- ability to follow discussions and receive notifications of updates
- private messaging to other SC Forum members
- fully searchable database of posts
- ability to quote in your response
- basic HTML formatting available

Moderator: Dave Jensen
Advisors:   Ana, PG, Rich Lemert, Dick Woodward, Dave Walker
Meet the Moderator/Advisors

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby MPB » Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:15 am


There is an article in Friday's NY Times that Amereicans who work in the pharmaceutical/biotech and and related industries should read (available online at nytimes.com; you have to register but it's free) about how offshoring is finally working its way up to life sciences industries; pharmaceuticals, biotech, bioinformatics, even drug clinical trials.

Notable quote: "The exodus of jobs in life sciences will take place," he said. "There's no avoiding it. There's no way that you can sustain the inefficient research and development that exists in the U.S."

Are we all going to be outsourced? I work in marketing, so I'm hoping that continued large-scale US marketing will support a need for people who understand US language and culture that will keep me in business for a few more years. But is there any reason why a lot of basic bench science couldn't go overseas?

Or does a rise in demand for scientists in India and China reduce the flow of postdocs to the US, possibly making it easier for scientists in the US to find jobs?

Notable quote #2: "U.S. academia had been run by Chinese post-docs for the last 10 years, if not 15," said Jonathan Knowles, head of global research for Roche.
MPB
 
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby Kim » Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:36 am

I think it would be helpful if you can post the full URL link to the article. I cannot find it.

"There's no way that you can sustain the inefficient research and development that exists in the U.S."

Does the US have inefficient research and development? Which nation can currently match the US in R&D productivities in bio sciences? Name one. Certainly not China or India.

"U.S. academia had been run by Chinese post-docs for the last 10 years, if not 15,"

Really? Do you really believe this? To say that the US academia is run by the Chinese is an exaggeration, if not an an outright fraud.
Kim
 
Posts: 228
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

article link

Postby MPB » Thu Feb 24, 2005 12:55 am

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/24/business/worldbusiness/24offshore.html

MPB
 
Posts: 479
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby Kevin Rogers » Thu Feb 24, 2005 5:46 am

Its very clear that outsourcing of white collar jobs will continue to increase in the next few years, similar to what happened to manufacturing in the 80's and early 90's. I don't see any reason why this shouldn't affect pharma/medical jobs.

The main question is how much- 'routine' type tasks -basic bench science - could be done more cheaply in India or China - I see no reason why not. As to developing the knowledge about which samples to test etc that is less clear, as the article points out.

So no, I don't think we are all going to be outsourced, but some people certainly will be.




Kevin Rogers
 
Posts: 187
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby Kevin Foley » Thu Feb 24, 2005 7:16 am

I haven't read the NY Times article yet, but I've been saying essentially the same thing to my colleagues. Usually they laugh at me! There was also a column on the subject of white collar outsourcing in Fortune a few months ago:

http://www.fortune.com/fortune/valuedriven/0,15704,832838,00.html

There is already a mini-trend of big pharmas setting up clinical research units in Asia (particularly Singapore) in an effort to save money. Obviously their biggest single expense is in the clinic.

Well, for a start up biotech company, the biggest single expense is the cost of labor. A FTE (full time employee) might cost $250,000/year in the US, but <$40,000 over there.

A lot of discovery research could easily be done in Asia, as long as you have US-trained scientists with industry experience running the show. This is already showing up for CROs (contract research organizations), and will inevitably expand to discovery research.

If you are a Chinese-born, US-educated scientist, this is an opportunity. If you are non-Chinese and want to stay ahead of the curve, get as much industry experience as you can, learn Chinese, and start your own company over there.

My prediction: in 10 years, 25% of the pharma research currently being done in the US will be outsourced to China. I?m not trying to be alarmist, but the one thing that will never change is that change is inevitable.

Ni hao ma?*
Kevin

*Unfortunately, I can attest that Chinese is dang hard to learn!
Kevin Foley
 
Posts: 1196
Joined: Tue Jan 10, 2012 11:28 pm
Location: Boston, Massachusetts USA

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby Lora » Thu Feb 24, 2005 8:44 am

Well, there is *one* reason: IP laws in India and China are quite different from Western IP laws. Indian pharma competitors are the bane of Western pharma for this reason: they have no problem with deconstructing formulas and making cheap knock-offs. So yeah, it's cheap to move everything east, but you also lose the one single thing that makes your profit margin what it is.

Not, you understand, that I would ever assert there isn't someone myopic enough to try... Singapore, on the other hand, now *that's* a different story.
Lora
 

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby Don » Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:03 am

Wholesale offshoring in the near-term is unlikely. There are however a number of places where offshoring has started and where jobs will increasingly be shifted out of the US (mainly to India, and China/Taiwan).

The two areas I see (through business plans and discussions with people in big pharma) moving most rapidly are medicinal chemistry and earlier stage clinical trials. However they are moving for different reasons.

Med-chem is moving because many good scientists in that field are Asians who were trained and have worked in the US. They have a desire to move back to their countries of oringin and they can do the same thing there for far less money and have a much better standard of living. The Indian and Chinese or Taiwanese medicinal chemists I have met who are part of this group are excellent scientists. The lab facillities I have seen in those countries are equivalent or even better than lab facillities here. The cost to run the show over there is far less than it is here. So yes, there are many firms setting up medicinal chemistry organizations over there. And I believe they will get at least equal results for lower overall cost.

The second area I see moving is early stage clinical trials. The reasons for this are a bit different. First there are a number of forign born clinical trials managers over here who are able to take Western standards of clinical trials management back to a place where costs in generall are lower. Second, clinical trials here are very crowded - it is hard to recruit patients. Of the roughly 1.5M proceedures in the cath lab last year in the US, over 15% participated in some kind of clinical trial. If one assumes that the fraction of people willing to take part in such a trial is no where near 100%, the saturation of the available patient population becomes apparent. Drug developers simply need to look outside of the US for trials subjects. Finally, clinical trials are often a good pre-marketing tool. If you have a base of physicians in the community who have had a good experience using a particular drug in a clinical trial, your ability to get rapid market penetration of that drug is improved. If those physicians are thought leaders (as they often are), the effect is increased. Many pharmaceutical companies believe that increasing market freedoms and rapidly expanding middle classes in India and China will make them very big potential markets for drugs. So doing more clinical trials in these countries could improve marketing ability in them as well as gain the other benefits mentioned above.

Other jobs will likely follow as conditions warrant - it is the natural progression of the business of science. The thermodynamics of the pharma biz economics.

D
Don
 

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby PG » Thu Feb 24, 2005 9:07 am

IP issues are independent of where the research has been performed. You can do the research in India and file the patent applications in the US anyway. In addition these countries are starting to realize that they can earn more money on adapting to IP and copyright laws of the western world by attracting jobs etc then they can earn on making cheap copies. I think that we will see major changes in the laws and especially in law enforcement over the coming years. I don´t belive that IP laws will be a major hurdle for offshoring research.
It is only a question about quality and access to a critical mass of creative scientists with the right experience.


PG
 

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby Lora » Thu Feb 24, 2005 10:40 am

"earn more money on adapting to IP and copyright laws of the western world by attracting jobs etc then they can earn on making cheap copies"

Do you really think so? How will they find customers in the Third World? As far as I know, Americans pay the highest health care costs of anyone anywhere because of our IP laws, and effectively subsidize the lower prices that socialized medicine enjoys. Even the private hospitals in India take advantage of the cheap knock-offs, and the public hospitals...well... Anyway, isn't creating a middle class by attracting jobs putting the cart before the horse a little? There's not many customers in the First World who are willing to pay for American IP costs, let alone in the Third World.
Lora
 

Offshoring pharma/medical jobs

Postby Shawn » Thu Feb 24, 2005 11:19 am

"Do you really think so? How will they find customers in the Third World? As far as I know, Americans pay the highest health care costs of anyone anywhere because of our IP laws, and effectively subsidize the lower prices that socialized medicine enjoys. Even the private hospitals in India take advantage of the cheap knock-offs, and the public hospitals...well... Anyway, isn't creating a middle class by attracting jobs putting the cart before the horse a little? There's not many customers in the First World who are willing to pay for American IP costs, let alone in the Third World."


I think you've confused the issue a bit. You see an american company will easily patent Ideas/disoveries etc.. that their Indian Scientists discovered. Anything worth patenting is worth both an american utility patent and a subsequent PCT for foriegn patent rights. Believe it or not there are many countries where patent expenses far excede those in the US. Even singapore is cracking down on IP infringers in order to attract american companies. In fact in singapore its a criminal offense they recently had there first trial and conviction. Even many african countries have recently organized there own PCT-type organization (not that many use it).

The funny part is that even patent drafting services are setting up shop in india and jobs are beong outsourced. So not only could you discorver your miricle drug in india you could have your US patent drafted in english in india as well.
Shawn
 

Next

Return to Science Careers Forum

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: David Lathbury and 10 guests