May 21, 2019
Annual General Meeting Shannon Quinn
Shannon Quinn, the President of the PMCQ, opened the meeting and covered the Annual General Meeting:
Shannon then introduced Al Reba, General Manager, Bristol-Myers Squibb who lead the panel’s discussion.
Introduction of Panelists Al Reba
Panelists gave their thoughts on:
The changing external environment and upcoming challenges for the industry
Over the last few years, the pharmaceutical industry has been dealing with important challenges regarding their pricing regulations. The federal government is currently proposing to put in place a national pharmacare and to create a Canadian Drug Agency that would negotiate drug prices. However, the upcoming new guidelines outlined in the Canada Gazette 2 (CG2) represents the immediate challenge the industry is facing. Despite this changing environment, we need to continue being a true partner for the healthcare industry and focus on patients needs.
The pharmaceutical industry would be very supportive of a national pharmacare program that benefits patients and improve drug access. However, the remaining uncertainty around the execution of the program might have an impact on future investments. The industry needs predictability and sustainability to effectively work on bringing innovative drugs to market for patients.
We’ve come a long way and we should be proud of all the efforts the pharmaceutical industry has done so far. We have mobilized as an industry and we have been extremely effective in talking about the impact of our innovations. Currently, there is no known date of when CG2 will come out. However, we can’t let this uncertain environment paralyse us. We have to keep a positive attitude moving forward and plan for the best.
The pharmaceutical industry is currently in a very uncertain environment and we need to start looking for new solutions. We need to demonstrate to the government that maintaining a vibrant pharmaceutical industry in Canada is essential for patients as well. In order to face this challenging environment, we need to have flexible and adaptable team members who can develop a new kind of partnership between the industry and the payers.
Talent needed in the industry
We need to recruit people based on their potential and not solely based on their skills. The kind of people who show interest in gaining different types of expertise will tend to develop a wide perspective. Also, you need to recruit people who are ready to challenge the status quo and approach issues from different angles.
We look for autonomous people who can work well with ambiguity and who you can also learn from. It’s very important that your team members are comfortable with change and are energised by a fast pace environment.
Variety in a career is extremely important when you’re hiring, and this variety should not be limited to geography. We look for people who have worked for different positions and who have taken on different types of challenges. Communication style is also very important specially as more and more companies are moving towards a vertical organisational structure.
We look for passionate candidates that have deep rooted values and fulfill a clear purpose for themselves. Candidates should also do their own research to find the right organisation and position that meets their own values.
Questions from the audience
What do you anticipate as the greatest area of disruption in pharma?
Certain disease states where there are still unmet medical needs represent an opportunity to offer innovation for patients. Another major evolution that we have to make is regarding the use of digital technology to engage our customers in the best way.
The pharmaceutical industry spent a lot on digital technology, but it is not very well integrated in the business model yet. It needs to be adapted based on customers needs so we can create the right platforms to engage our customers through different channels.
We are moving towards personalised medicine across many different therapeutic areas and this will have a lot of implications on R&D, drug access and clinical trials.
Where do you see growth opportunities in the future?
Patient empowerment is going to be a huge area of growth opportunity. We need to work with patients so they can raise their voice and demand the best possible care and treatments.
Partnership with the government in disease prevention to help people live healthier. We need to start thinking about growth in terms of added value and contribution to society and not only based on products launches so we can see the real impact we make on patients.
Partnership with other disruptors that are out there already and see how we can collaborate with them to better treat patients.
Freelance Medical Writer