Recent posts on leading pharma industry blogs, including Derek Lowe's In the Pipeline and John Mack's Pharma Marketing Blog, have responded to a post on the Healthcare Renewal blog discussing safety and marketing issues with GSK's diabetes drug Avandia. Isn't Avandia just another reflection of problems with the whole "blockbuster drug" business model, and the marketing and sales strategies that it demands? And aren't we simply going to see more of these stories until that business model runs its course? Personalized medicine and tailored therapies promise to usher in a whole new day... in a decade (or two). They'll require far more agile manufacturing and QA operations, and probably more use of continuous manufacturing and process control, but what type of marketing infrastructure will be needed---one that will encompass both the drug and the diagnostic test--- and how will that change the way that therapies are marketed and sold? As welcome as an end to DTC advertising might be to many of us in the U.S., what would happen to the millions of dollars that pharma has already invested in marketing as it's handled today? As daunting as personalized medicine's technological issues may be, the biggest hurdles still appear to be financial. Consultant Peter Keeling, CEO of the firm Diaceutics, suggested in a February article in Future Medicine (subscription required: click here for the source) that much more economic data are needed. ...The hard economics need and deserve significantly more critical analysis and new data input than they are currently being given, to determine their role, or not, in driving change. Put simply, as with the birth of all new and promising developments in healthcare, myth, hope and trend-spotting are driving this market forward, rather than any hard evidence of a sustainable commercial business model for all stakeholders. While there are clear economic benefits to aspects of delivery along the way to personalized care, there may in fact be no compelling economic drivers for radical change for payers and the pharmaceutical industry. The best they can hope to achieve is that the balance sheet is, just that, in balance. Tomorrow, an interesting conference "Personalized Medicine: Realizing the Full Potential" promises to examine some of these issues. The CEO of the Critical Path will be speaking, but so will a marketing specialist from a diagnostics company. Registration costs about $50 but complimentary registration for one-way audio access is available. For more information click here.