• Pharma, Reputation and Crisis

    The Harvard Club of New York

    June 14, 2016



    You can add any link or even upload a file to this button!

  • Questions and Answers

    Join Us as We Answer Questions


    • How can a company repair its reputation, online and off?
    • What's the best and quickest way to come back from a crisis?
    • What's unique about reputation and crisis management in the pharmaceutical industry?
    • Do you engage or ignore in times of crisis?
    • What's the true value of reputational capital?


    How important is reputation to the Pharmaceutical industry?

    From Warren Buffett to Shakespeare, business and societal leaders emphasize that good reputation is our most valuable asset. Certainly, when reputation is lost, it can cause tremendous loss of value - Volkswagen, BP and indeed the entire banking sector have felt the pain of such loss in recent times. But does this hold true for the pharmaceutical sector? Many firms in the sector have gone through scandals involving corruption, test data falsification, bribery and more without losing substantial traction in the markets – events which might have paralysed other industries.


    Research from CARMA shows that, globally, critics of the industry are growing stronger, opposition to certain practices is growing harsher and the regulatory and political attitudes persistently challenging for the industry. This conference will examine how critical good reputation really is to the sector, what to do in the face of reputational loss and how to sustain strong reputational capital.

    Add paragraph text here.

  • Presenters Include

    Founder, Dezenhall Communications; Crisis Communications Consultant; Author

    Managing Director, Analysis, CARMA

    Editor-in-Chief, MedPage Today

    Attorney, Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC; Fmr. Director, Office of Policy, FDA; Physician

    EVP and General Counsel, Eisai, Inc.

  • 5 Questions For Eric Dezenhall

    Eric co-founded Dezenhall Resources, Ltd. in 1987 and today serves as the company’s CEO. Prior to starting the firm, Eric worked at an international public relations agency and a political consulting firm. Today, he is a frequent guest commentator on national public affairs programs and is widely quoted in leading news publications. 

    1) What's unique about the pharmaceutical industry when it comes to reputation and crisis management?


    When I started in business in the 1980s, the pharma industry wasn’t a villain industry the way oil and chemicals were.  Drug companies were seen as boutiques where people in white lab coats mixed curative elixirs.  In the past 30 years pharma has lurched into the villain category as we’ve seen depicted in movies and other pop culture portrayals.  This is probably due to some combination of huge profits, drug pricing, direct-to-consumer ads and the increasing notion that there is no natural reason why people should be unwell, that good health, given how much progress has been made, should be guaranteed.


    2) Crisis management amateurs seem to always fall back on the Tylenol crisis as a case study. Is this valid in today's environment?


    The Tylenol case is a myth and a cliche. Not only did it not unfold as has been merchandized by the PR industry for its own business reasons, it has practically no relevance to today’s crises.  The sooner PR people stop peddling it the better the crisis management discipline will be.


    3) What's the biggest mistake an exec can make when confronted by a crisis? What's the best thing he/she can do?


    Dispense with the notion that there is a playbook.  In my book, GLASS JAW, I debunk the top crisis management clichés, things like “get ahead of the story” and “respond immediately” or “a crisis is an opportunity.” These things have no meaning or are flat-out wrong.  If there really were a playbook or “rules” of crisis management everyone would use them and resolve their crises successfully but they don’t.


    4) Overall, does social media help or hurt in a corporate crisis situation?


    Social media is a massive net negative in most crises.  Simply because something is a powerful technology it doesn’t mean it’s always a useful one.  Nine times out of ten the hair-trigger use of social media in a crises makes things worse.  Everybody is so afraid of not looking cutting-edge that they’re afraid to publicly question the hyper-application of social media.


    5) You've just written a book, GLASS JAW,  on your latest work/research in the field. What's the most important thing readers can take away from the book?


    That we have to recalibrate how a crisis management success is defined.  Now that crisis management has entered the popular culture and been commoditized with TV shows and movies about the discipline, people think that one deft little trick will cure a complicated fiasco.  The good news is that many under siege do survive and prosper but not on the basis that they anticipate.