Reality in Real Time
By MIKE AUERBACH, Editor in Chief, Pharmaceutical Processing
Here’s my proposal — force all television reality shows to be done in real time and here are my reasons why this would ultimately help the pharmaceutical industry.
Remember the television show 24? Throughout its run, Kiefer Sutherland played a federal agent trying to save the United States from one disaster after another. The show’s gimmick was that each episode was actually 60 minutes of “real” time — no shortcuts, no compressing of time, no flashbacks or flash forwards. If it didn’t happen in that hour of time, it had to wait for the next episode.
Today’s reality shows (not the Real Housewives type — the “fix it up and flip it” type) don’t employ this technique. In fact, they all do exactly the opposite. They show us a project that really take weeks and months to finish being compressed and edited down to a very tidy 30- or 60-minute program.
Not only has the time been shortened — but these shows also make everything look so easy. If someone can renovate an entire house in 60 minutes, or rebuild a completely rusted out 1968 Dodge Charger in only 30 minutes, is it that far-fetched that people begin to look at the pharmaceutical industry, asking why it takes so long to develop a new drug and why it is so expensive when it finally comes to market?
So here’s my solution: Let’s have a pharmaceutical industry reality show — in real time — to show everyone exactly what it really takes to bring a drug to market.
Just imagine the daily drama! Starting with the eureka moment at the discovery of a new therapeutic molecule, followed by the arduous clinical trials, the nail-biting FDA review process, then the fits and starts with developing an efficient manufacturing strategy through various scale-up scenarios, then finally success — full-scale manufacturing begins.
Of course, only to be followed by the looming specter of generic competition — throw in a recall or two, and you would have a bona fide hit on your hands!
You would need to commit about 10 to 15 years to truly watch the drama unfold — but with today’s DVRs, you could record the whole thing and watch it whenever you wanted and skip through the commercials.
But then again, that wouldn’t be “real” time anymore — would it?
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