The Fight Against Superbugs Is All About Money

The Fight Against Superbugs Is All About Money

Low demand and profitability have prompted large pharmaceutical companies to exit the antibiotics market.

As intensive care units around the country struggle to combat increasingly resistant bacteria, companies developing the new generations of antibiotics aimed at killing them are shutting down.

The reason? Low revenues that do not cover the substantial investments in R&D. Doctors and public health experts are taking notice and proposing funding alternatives.


Video Spotlight:We’re losing the war against bacteria, here’s why


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Antibiotics Aren’t Profitable Enough for Big Pharma to Make More, by R. Langreth, May 3, 2019; and the YouTube video, We’re losing the war against bacteria, here’s why, by The New York Times, April 8, 2019. Image source: CDC/James Gathany

Discussion Questions:

1. Why are profits low in the antibiotics industry?

Guidance: Given the time and resources required to do the research, the R&D costs of developing a new antibiotic are typically high. Yet, the selling price is low compared to that of other drugs (e.g. cancer drugs), and the demand is relatively low. Not only are doctors reluctant to prescribe new antibiotics unless they are absolutely needed, but the demand Continue reading

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Automation is Not Always the Answer

Automation is Not Always the Answer

February 11, 2019

With the maturing of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics, there has been a push to automate a variety of processes.  Automation can improve performance and reduce costs, but not all processes will be or should be automated.

Here are a few of the current limitations in automation:

  • Most robots are limited to menial tasks.
  • Climbing stairs or maneuvering in rough surfaces is still difficult.
  • Processes that require decision-making continue to pose challenges.
  • Putting a personal touch on automated services is difficult.
  • Many automated processes are not cost efficient.

This post is based on the Supply Chain Dive article, Not everything in the supply chain should be automated, by Craig Guillot January 22, 2019. Image source: Montgomery Martin / Alamy Stock Photo.

Discussion Questions:

1. Why shouldn’t come processes be automated?

Guidance: Reasons for not automating processes range from cost to technical limitations to processes that need human intervention.  Processes that require a personal touch (the soft skills) may never be automated.  In many cases customers want to interact with a person.  Also, some processes need the ability to understand what the customer wants.  Such processes are difficult, if not impossible, Continue reading

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GM: Tough Maneuvering in a Fast-Moving Market

GM: Tough Maneuvering in a Fast-Moving Market

GM’s announcement to close five plants has sparked a lot of criticism. How can a company bolstered by a taxpayer-funded bailout and generous tax cuts lay off 14,000 people? Is it betrayal or foresight?

CEO Mary T. Barra has justified the job cuts, citing slowing sales and changing markets. GM’s actions are easy to criticize, but compassionate solutions are difficult to come by.


Video Spotlight: GM’s planned layoffs


This post is based on the New York Times article, GM to Idle Plants and Cut Thousands of Jobs as Sales Slow, by N.E. Boudette, November 26, 2018; and the Time.com video on GM’s planned layoffs, by A. Abrams, November 29, 2018. Image source: Glow Images.

Discussion Questions:

1. Identify the specific elements in a SWOT analysis that may have triggered Ms. Barra’s decision to close several plants.

Guidance:

Threats

  • economy (higher interest rates, tariffs)
  • legal environment (push for higher minimum wages gaining momentum in several states)
  • competition (competitors’ investments in self-driving and electric cars)
  • markets (shifts in vehicle sales)

Opportunities

  • economy (low unemployment rates potentially easing employees’ reintegration into the workforce; financial boost with new of capital)
  • new technologies to facilitate the development of self-driving and electric cars Continue reading
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