The global pharmaceutical industry is clearly in flux. As Americans await full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the pharmaceutical industry is gearing up for increased demand for generic formulations and possible changes in patient access to drugs. This is prompting some leading pharmaceutical companies to consider expanding their presence in the generics market. At the same time, FDA has been slow to approve new chemical entities over the last few years, and there continues to be increased scrutiny and policing—including self-policing—of pharmaceutical marketing.

Companies are increasingly turning their attention to the demands of emerging markets, including Asia. Finally, large companies reportedly have considered splintering off into smaller, more nimble franchises with the hopes of increasing profitability.

The dermatology pharmaceutical market is not immune from these changes (see our update on the industry in the May 2010 issue, available online at PracticalDermatology.com), though many recent developments suggest great interest in developing and marketing new skin-targeted therapies. Still, prescribers wonder what lies ahead given that so much of clinical practice depends on the advancements made in the R&D labs of pharmaceutical companies. To help keep tabs of the evolving market, we've launched a new, regular department called “Dermatology on Wall Street” (see p. 19). In this department, we'll provide an overview of a different publicly-traded pharmaceutical company serving the dermatology market. Through these reports, dermatologists can have a better familiarity with the companies that manufacture and market dermatology drugs and see where market indicators are pointing.

Relationships between physicians and industry are always under scrutiny. While some abuses have occurred, the reality is that prescribers and drug makers often work together in responsible, appropriate, and productive ways. In the end, patients benefit. Even those clinicians who do not interact directly with the industry are affected by it. This new department will help those in the clinic keep track of developments in the commercial sector.