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Bias in the Spotlight

Pharmaceutical ExecutivePharmaceutical Executive: February 2023
Volume 43
Issue 02

Pharm Exec's February issue focuses on health equity.

This particular issue of Pharmaceutical Executive covers a really important topic that is near and dear to my heart, and that is health equity. In my article on the impact of racial bias in medicine, I spoke with representatives from Novartis, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Genentech, and ZS. They shared how COVID-19 brought to light how we can (and should) be doing so much more—such as including communities of color in clinical trials.

Furthermore, there were discussions of how certain therapeutic areas that primarily impact people of color or women do not yet have treatments. But from these conversations, it seems there are a lot of initiatives underway that expand access to clinical trials, increase opportunities for students of color, increase access to care, address generational poverty, and work to regain trust in medicine among these communities.

In another article on the topic, guest authors from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) present the results of its health equity study. Specifically, BCG surveyed 18 global biopharma companies to discuss health equity strategies, product-level implementation, partnerships, how to measure inequity, and more. I found it fascinating how companies had such different approaches to addressing health equity within their organizations.

Shifting gears in our February issue, an article from Eli Lilly’s Diogo Rau discusses how digital tools are set to revolutionize—or, perhaps, to continue to revolutionize—the pharma industry. Rau pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic as key evidence to how technology can, and has, changed the way we approach developing and distributing treatments. Machine learning, specifically, is one digital tool that has potential in drug discovery, which will hopefully shorten research time.

In our Europe Report, Reflector explores the current turmoil in Europe from excessive regulation surrounding intellectual property. The picture is a bit gloomy now, as the belief is there isn’t enough encouragement to modernize development infrastructures as well as a lack of agility in regulation when it comes to novel market access mechanisms.

Also related to regulations, our Washington corespondent, Jill Wechsler, discusses the potential fallout from the House probe blasting FDA’s role in approving Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm in 2021.

Last, but certainly not least, Lisa Henderson, editorial director, speaks with Christophe Bourdon, CEO of LEO Pharma, about his journey into pharma, specifically joining a company with a long legacy. I particularly enjoyed his story about how he went to the company via train on his first day, which was a surprise to the employees to see a CEO arrive at work in that way. It sounds like that level of personability is something Bourdon prides himself in and prioritizes. He also spoke on how he had to navigate some unique challenges in his role at another biotech where the company’s rare disease drug candidate was rejected by FDA.

This is another great issue from the editorial team and our amazing contributors. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

Meg Rivers is Pharm Exec’s managing editor and can be reached at mrivers@mjhlifesciences.com.

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