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Movers and Shakers of the Pharma Industry - Alex Bishop

Movers and Shakers of the Pharma Industry - Alex Bishop


Alex Bishop is the IT Business Manager at Pfizer, the largest supplier of medicines to the NHS.
Last Updated: 27-Aug-2010

Focus on: Alex Bishop

Alex Bishop is the IT Business Manager at Pfizer, the largest supplier of medicines to the NHS.  Pfizer has an extensive range of prescription only medicines treating diseases such as infections, arthritis, depression, heart disorders, and certain types of cancer.  With the motto, “life is our life’s work”, Pfizer strive to lengthen and enrich people’s lives by providing them with better health. This week Alex talks to us about his love of the industry, his love of sport and his aspirations for love in his personal life.


1. Where and when did you start out in the industry?

I started out in the Pharmaceutical Industry with Warner Lambert (remember them?!) just under 10 years ago.


2. What advice would you give those just starting out?

Be prepared to go through lots of change.  I have been involved in three mergers / acquisitions and a relocation of the business in the last six years.

Can you tell us something about yourself and your background?

I originally came from and lived there until just two years ago when I moved to .  My hobbies are predominantly sport based (golf, motor racing, badminton, football), but I also enjoy motorcycling.  I studied at the and have a degree in common sense!

If you had £10 in your pocket what would you spend it on?

Golf Balls – I lose too many to depend on the ones that are currently in my bag!


5. What has been your best job role so far?

I genuinely believe that my current role is my best one due to the constant challenges and variation that I encounter.


6. Thinking about your current role, what do you enjoy most about it?

In recent times, IT has got a lot closer to the business and added value to a wide range of processes.  I think that we are not seen as being a group of techies as much now and have much more interactive discussions with the business, which generates all sorts of opportunities to further improve the way we work.


7. And what are the downsides?

The time it can take to get things done.

8. What involvement do you have with e-business initiatives for your company?

I (or one of my team) would be project managing e-Business initiatives from an IT perspective to ensure that the solution gives the benefits that the company is looking for, and that works with our infrastructure and standards.  Also, we may well be involved in selecting a supplier to provide required solution to us.


9. Thinking about e-business, what are the main initiatives that your company is currently involved in, or looking at for the future?

Who knows!  The part of the business I work for is currently in the midst of being sold to Johnson & Johnson so everything is a little uncertain at present!


10. In particular, are you and your company either actively involved in or looking at e-detailing?

Yes, it is something we have looked at in the past and it would make sense to look at it again after the dust settles on the Johnson & Johnson deal in my opinion.


11. What kind of positive impact do you think e-detailing will have on;


a.      The industry? I think that the industry will benefit from e-detailing by generating a richer content for GPs to better understand the therapy areas they are interested in.


b.     Your company specifically? I think the company will benefit from e-detailing by being able to communicate key messages to the wider audience very easily, but only if it is done in such a way that engages the audience (an all too obvious thing to say but it often doesn’t work like that!).  If the customer sees the added value from interactions with us there is an increased possibility that the Territory Manager will have more air time.


12. And what do you feel are its limitations?

Firstly, the reliance is on the GP or customer to choose to go to the e-detail which in itself could be difficult to overcome if there is not a burning issue that the person wants to know more about.

Secondly, the way in which it can be implemented.  If due consideration is not given to keeping the content fresh, then it will not realise its potential.  It is all too easy to half heartedly implement something like e-detailing and then view it as a failure when you don’t get the results you expected.


13. To finish off I’d like you to gaze into a crystal ball…


a. What are your personal goals for the future?

            i.      To successfully come out of the other

            end of the latest acquisition.

            ii.      To be happy with my girlfriend (I’m a

             romantic at heart but I keep it well


            iii.      To lower my golf handicap!

b. Where do you see the industry  heading in the next 5 years?

          i.I am not close enough to the industry to

       have a strong opinion, but it is clear that

       the NHS and the industry as a whole are

       going through some very significant

       change.  Large Pharmas will need to be

       a lot more adaptable to these changes.

c. In terms of pharmaceutical sales, what do you see the typical territory sales manager doing in 3 years from now?

               i.More focussed discussions that centre

         on the topics that are important to that

         individual GP.  These discussions could

         well dovetail into any available e-

        detailing materials.

             ii.Talking to key groups within the NHS to

          help influence GP prescribing.