A Farewell to PhRMA

A Farewell to PhRMA

07.19.12 | By Kate Connors

Tomorrow, I leave PhRMA to try my hand at something new. It feels like a lifetime since I've been here - nearly six years. That's roughly one sixth of my 32 years, and longer than I've done anything in my life except for elementary school and aunthood.

In those nearly six years, I've seen some pretty great things. I worked on teams that successfully advocated for passage of PDUFA reauthorization and the patent reform law - policies that will help to encourage new innovation. I celebrated as our member companies launched incredible new medicines that will change the way we fight diseases and that will change lives. And I met some of the individuals who work with toward that goal daily with little reward, little recognition and constant challenges.

Also in those six years, I saw loved ones lose their battles with terrible diseases, saw loved ones win their battles, and suffered the heartbreak of seeing a beloved baby diagnosed with a disease that he will battle for the rest of his life. This job - it's personal sometimes.

But here's the thing about those six years that seem like such a lifetime to me: in the scheme of this industry, in the lifecycle of those incredible new medicines and dauntless researchers, six years is nothing. A compound that was in its earliest stage of development back when I started here? Perhaps it's nearing the halfway point in the research process. Perhaps it's in Phase II with a long, complex Phase III trial and FDA review still ahead of it. And quite likely, it will fail, as did so many of its fellow compounds from six years ago, and those researchers will start over.

I have a sticky note above my phone that I see daily, with a quote from Lady Bird Johnson: "Effectiveness is more important than credit." It's a mantra that I think the more than 650,000 dedicated industry employees that I have proudly served for six years would understand.

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