Ciurczak on Silo-Breaking: Don’t Pharma Scientists Keep Up With General Chemistry Trends Anymore?

...Emil Ciurczak addressed the whole idea of silos and lack of communication within Pharma in his last op ed on "Cool Hand Luke" syndrome. "What we have here is a failure to communicate," he writes. He continues that theme next month....here's a preview of what he has to say ..."When last we spoke, we were discussing the lack of communication among Pharma science-types. This is not a sole proprietorship of the Pharma industry however. It is a common ailment among all scientists, I fear. When I worked at a surfactant company, we had a simple two-layer titration method for sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS or sodium dodecyl sulphate). In short, the titration was with benzalkonium chloride and involved an ion pairing reaction. It was simple, straightforward, and precise. When I moved back to Pharma, one of the first problems I encountered was an assay for benzalkonium chloride.

           Since the alkyl chain was not constant, an HPLC method (this was 1980) was difficult. I suggested a titration with SLS in an ion pair reaction. And the crowd went wild! Was this a proprietary assay? Not at all. It was in the literature for decades. So, what was the problem? Pharma scientists wouldnt lower themselves to read surfactant or, for that matter, any other journals except pharmaceutical journals. There is a prevailing idea that drug chemistry is different from all the other chemistry on the planet. And I thought that synthetic urea showed that there was no life force behind chemicals in the body¦ guess they didnt read that one either; it probably isnt on the internet...".

What do you think?  Is it a question of "feeling superior" or simply not having a minute to spare for these other journals?

-AMS