Pandemic Highlights Need for Cooperation

The Life Sciences & Healthcare industry is at a fantastic period with unprecedented improvement of health thanks to innovation.

Products are developed under market forces. But as the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates, when there is an urgent, public health need authorities have to intervene to ensure sufficient financing and reduce commercial risk to the companies.

Covid-19 has accelerated cooperation between the authorities and the industry at a level not seen before. A major facilitator is the Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturer’s of America (PhRMA) which represents innovative biopharmaceutical research and discovery companies and is based in Washington.

Brian Toohey, Senior Vice President for International Advocacy of PhRMA, was the guest speaker at a recent Cornerstone International Group webinar.

“We are seeing a wonderful transformation in science,“ said Toohey. ”The industry is moving from treatments to cures with great breakthroughs in oncology and many other fields.”

PhRMA is devoted to advancing public policies in the U.S. and around the world that support innovative medical research, yield progress for patients today and provide hope for the treatments and cures of tomorrow.

Toohey identified three pillars on which innovation in Life Sciences and Healthcare depends:

  1. Market access
  2. Intellectual Property (IP) – the battleground for continued investment in biopharmaceutical research, and
  3. Global trade

With costs of $2.8 billion to get a new medicine to market all three pillars are essential for continuing innovation, says Toohey. Also essential is the support and vision of regulatory authorities and governments as displayed in the current pandemic. Authorities have initiated policies to mitigate the risk borne by the discovery companies under the pressure to create a vaccine.

Addressing the challenge of the strong development of Market Access as a job across the whole industry, Toohey advocates first building a strong academic foundation in top universities. Pricing and assessing medicines are a science, he says, and education should be thorough. Then candidates should join companies and probably enter product development groups, in order to get the business discipline.

For more information on Cornerstone’s Life Sciences and Healthcare group, contact

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