Attitudes Toward Risk & Uncertainty

Category of behaviors captured during the 2006 Pharmaceutical Industry survey+ into the causes of the decade-long R&D productivity slump.

Behaviors in this category are extremely important to the pharmaceutical industry, where levels of uncertainty and risk in R&D are perhaps much higher than in other industries. I’m told it’s not difficult to find drugs that work well; but very few work well and are safe. The financial, consulting, reinsurance and other industries could also develop profitable new products if they can safely ignore long-term risks.

Unproductive behaviors in this category are related to bad decision making based on faulty conceptions of risk. Risk in innovative drug development is not quantifiable. Yet individuals often relied on quantitative methods as crutches. They avoid the really hard work it takes to understand the opportunities and risks of various lines of inquiry.

Further Reading