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An Open Letter on Equity

At America’s biopharmaceutical companies, innovation is critical to the work we do for patients. But innovation isn’t just critical to researching and developing medicines - it is also important to how we do business and how we show up in the world of health care.

In the wake of important and timely conversations surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion in all spaces across America, our companies are pushing for necessary, positive and long-term systemic change to better meet the needs of people as we seek to fulfill our duty as developers of innovative medicines.

To do this, our companies are focused on meaningful steps we can take by doing the following.

We are committed to having open, honest and real conversations about racial equity and what it means to have a culture of inclusion. This means having frank conversations with and listening to patients, employees and those most impacted by inequities and racism to learn and improve.

We are investing in Black and Brown America by creating pathways to our industry for people from all backgrounds. This means building on investments in the sciences and STEM education, from grade school to graduate school. And it means diversifying our business practices so that we open the economic engine of our industry to all communities. This also means expanding opportunities for Black and Brown people to work and succeed in our industry.

We are focused on actively advancing policy solutions and research that address the social determinants of health, so that we can better address health disparities that have long existed but that have been spotlighted by COVID-19.

We are addressing the systemic challenges and skepticism that keep Black and Brown communities from participating in clinical trials because of historic wrongs. Clinical trials can give people access to potentially lifesaving medicines and high-quality care. Enhancing diversity in clinical trial participation may lead to evidence that better reflects the patients most likely to use the medicine if approved. We are dedicated to earning the trust, and addressing the systemic issues, that prevent Black and Brown communities from enrolling in clinical trials so that people who want to participate, can.

Specifically, at PhRMA our organization is committed to the following:

  • We are committed to implementing measures to support structural inclusion and elevating our educational programs to include unconscious bias, and to raising blind spot awareness to help employees develop and demonstrate more inclusive behaviors.
  • We are committed to increasing the representation of Black and Brown America within our organization so that we reflect the patients and communities we serve.
  • We are committed to establishing more innovative development and leadership programs to increase representation and advancement of our Black and Brown employees at all levels.
  • We are committed to broadening our partnerships to include more diverse consultants, agencies, firms and suppliers and to establishing D&I commitment criteria for all those we engage to support our work.
  • We are committed to enhancing our engagement with Black and Brown communities to do our part in advancing racial equity.
  • We are committed to fostering a workplace where our employees can bring their authentic selves and excel.

Systemic racism is as real as any disease. Our industry is not immune.

We all need to stand up to racism and injustice. Failing to do so impacts our collective wellbeing. America’s biopharmaceutical companies are committed to learning and leading us forward.

Stephen J. Ubl, President and CEO, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)