The Ten Best Pharma Quotes of 2011: The CEO Edition

Last week, we unveiled our Ten Best Pharma Quotes of the Year. Here below is our special CEO Edition, with the ten best quips from, and about, drug company CEOs this year. (For a monthly look at quotes like this, subscribe to the Pharma Replay enewsletter.)


“This year may be the most remarkable year . . . in the history of any pharmaceutical company.”
Embattled Forest Labs’ CEO Howard Solomon, in the first line of an unusual letter to shareholders, in which he also rails against government efforts to oust him.

"Our industry has massively shot itself in the foot.”
Shire CEO Angus Russell, suggesting pharma has not done enough to communicate with consumers about drug costs.

“Today a great man has died. [In his memory] more than 80 percent of Novartis Pharmaceutical field forces will give up their PCs.”
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez issued an unorthodox tribute to Steve Jobs.

“We have 83 factories and only use about 50 percent to full capacity. That isn’t good.”
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez, who also said, “We have spent too much money on marketing and selling our drugs.”

"The problem with R&D is it's not always consistent. It's not like engineering where you can incrementally innovate and make another version of the iPhone."
Merck CEO Ken Frazier, justifying his commitment to maintaining R&D spending

“There are parallels between the situations at Merck and Penn State.”
A controversial article from, questioning why CEO Ken Frazier was tabbed to head a committee to investigate the child-abuse scandal at Penn State University.

“We think that when they get to the market, they’re going to make a difference.”
Lilly CEO John Lechleiter, also stating that new drugs are based merely on “well-founded hypotheses.”

“Now for most people, they’ll still see that as slow. But I can tell you that pretty much sets speed records.”
Sanofi CEO Christopher A. Viehbacher, on integrating Genzyme’s 10,000 employees across 80 countries in 90 days.

“It will enable us to continually make the necessary investments in our science, our people and ultimately our human health care mission.”
Eisai CEO Lonnel Coats, upon laying off 20% of the company’s U.S. workforce.

“Gold actually was lauded with the Best Biotech CEO Award last year, so his fall from grace is even more breathtaking.”, awarding Dendreon’s Mitch Gold its “Worst Biotech CEO of the Year”


--Paul Thomas