Students Compete in Pharmaceutical Case Competition
For the past seven years, the Yale Healthcare and Life Sciences Club has held the Pharmaceutical Case Competition, a growing event open to students across the university. This year, 71 students making up 14 teams gathered on November 11 to present their recommendations on how a company could best handle a drug shortage. A team comprised of students from the School of Medicine, Graduate School, and School of Public Health finished first. Two Yale SOM students, Sheng Gu '12 and Ning Zhang '12, were on the second-place team.
This year marked the first time that students from the MBA for Executives: Leadership in Healthcare program participated in the competition, which was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey, and the Yale Center for Customer Insights. Judges included top officials from Johnson & Johnson, McKinsey, Covidien, and the FrankelGroup.
The case focused on Doxil, which is distributed by Johnson & Johnson and used in the treatment of ovarian cancer last year. After quality and supply issues at third-party contract manufacturers led to severe product shortages, Johnson & Johnson was faced with several choices regarding production, distribution, and communication with patients. The teams were asked to evaluate the current response as well as to propose a course of action moving forward: whether or not to continue contract manufacturing, how to ensure fair and equitable distribution of remaining product, and how to maintain a position of trust with the patient community through an effective communication plan.
Ryan Catania '12, one of the competition's organizers, said that the continuing success of the event shows the benefits of students working across Yale. "One of our primary goals for the Yale Healthcare and Life Sciences Club is to encourage cross-campus interactions and diverse teams working together to solve a common problem," he said. "It's cross-pollination at its best."
The club, formed in 2010 when the Yale SOM Healthcare Club merged with the Yale Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Society, is a university-wide organization focused on the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. In addition to the case competition, the 1,200-member club sponsors the annual Yale Healthcare Conference, to be held on April 13.