If the pharmaceutical industry is to continue to improve global health outcomes, it must work in radically different ways

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

The pharmaceutical industry has a proud record of creating value for society by reducing the individual, economic and social burden of disease. But if it is to continue to be a force for good in the world, radical changes are needed to the industry’s historic ways of doing business.

That was the key message of a speech by Chief Executive Officer David Brennan at a recent high-profile gathering of business leaders.

David was giving the Tomorrow’s Value lecture as part of an event in London hosted by the think-tank Tomorrow’s Company and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

David started by paying tribute to the advances in global health outcomes made possible by the development of new medicines. He highlighted the opportunities the industry has to build on that progress, particularly resulting from the demand for medicines from emerging economies and the world’s ageing population.

However, David pointed out that there are major barriers facing the industry. These include pressure from governments to cut costs, the insufficient pipeline of new medicines coming to market and low levels of trust in the industry.

Collaboration, based on mutual trust, is the only way we are going to make a difference. I hope stakeholders will be more open to collaboration with the industry, and I hope the industry too will continue to challenge itself and look for new partners and new ways of collaborating."

In response to these challenges, David reinforced the need for our industry to work differently. In particular, he focused on:

  • Increasing affordability and access: Working to make sure that medicines are not only effective but offer real value for money. Also, seeking new ways to broaden access to healthcare for patients in the world’s underserved communities.
  • Collaborating to develop innovative new medicines: Transforming R&D productivity by embracing collaboration with other companies, government bodies, academia and others.
  • Rebuilding trust: Setting high standards of integrity to gain the trust of payers, policy-makers, healthcare professionals and patients, and make it possible to do business effectively.

The Tomorrow’s Value lectures were conceived in response to the global recession. They enable business leaders to explore the meaning of value – what it is, how it can be measured and how it can be created by businesses.

After delivering the Tomorrow’s Value lecture, David joined a panel discussion that also involved other leading figures from the business world.