#PhRMA13 Closes With Focus on Patients and Challenges That Lie Ahead
Address by Patient Advocacy Groups, Indianapolis Colts Football Coach Drive Home Innovation Message
A strong finish to #PhRMA13 today drove home the message that for patients, there is no greater source of hope than the continued medical innovation that leads to new treatments and further, new hope.
A bright and early (way early) panel about innovative patient engagement left many reinvigorated about what the role the biopharmaceutical industry plays in patient advocacy. Larry Hausner spoke frankly when he mentioned that as he initially began working with the American Diabetes Association, which he now helms, it was "widely known that PhRMA is the enemy." However, he added, he was happy to note that there has been a 100% turnaround in that attitude of late, and his focus is how to consistently improve engagement between biopharmaceutical companies and patients. That sentiment was echoed by American Cancer Society CEO John Seffrin, who gave a heartfelt thanks to the biopharmaceutical industry for their innovation, and noted that "Your first job, we can never forget, is to make new medicines. And you're good at that - we can never forget that. God bless you for it; we all benefit from new medicines, and that includes my family and myself."
Incoming PhRMA Chairman Bob Hugin, CEO of Celgene, gave an impassioned address on the challenges the industry yet faces, supercharging the crowd by noting the interwoven issues of innovation and economic policies that enable access and medical breakthroughs. "Our pipelines are the solution, not the problem," Hugin reminded the crowd, "The lifescience industry is a crown jewel of the U.S. economy." Truer words.
With that, NFL Football Coach Chuck Pagano of the Indianapolis Colts took the stage, explaining his experience with leukemia, and making an effective analogy admonishing biopharmaceutical companies to push through adversity, refuse to lower expectations even in the face of massive challenge, and continue to provide research, progress and hope to patients, like him. Not many dry eyes in the house, after Coach Pagano's (#ChuckStrong) speech.
#PhRMA13 broke new ground in many ways, addressing issues we hadn't explored at our annual meeting before and engaging unlikely bedfellows in open, frank conversations that often spilled into the halls and meeting spaces around us. If this year's Annual Meeting was a sign of what's to come, as Coach Pagano advised us, we'd better be prepared to, "Stick with the process. Look for the next play and keep moving forward, keep battling. Eventually, you're going to get the results you want."
Great advice. Thanks for joining us at #PhRMA13!