Shields discusses Ferring’s recent $5 million endowment to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine.
Ferring Pharmaceuticals recently announced a $5 million endowment to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. Jade Shields, vice president of corporate affairs, spoke with Pharmaceutical Executive about the endowment and the importance of reproductive medicine.
Pharmaceutical Executive: Can you describe your current responsibilities at Ferring?
Jade Shields: I’m currently responsible for our patient advocacy. This gives me the opportunity to help advocate on behalf of patients and make sure that their voices are heard. This is in addition to working with our corporate communications and corporate relations teams, along with heading up our government affairs team here in Washington, DC, to positively impact public policy on behalf of patients.
PE: Why is patient advocacy so important?
Shields: We've been focused on the patient experience for a number of years, so it's something that we will continue to invest in. It's an important part of what we do. With our major advocacy groups, organizations, and associations, we want to make sure that their voice is included. They're the people that we're working on behalf of and who our medications benefit, so we want to make sure that folks have a voice both from a policy standpoint but also during the development of our medications. We know that that makes for a better outcome when you have the most important voices included. Healthcare practitioners are equally important, so a lot of the work we do with associations represent their input as well.
PE: In regards to the $5 million endowment to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, what makes the sort of educational programs provided by the ASRM so important?
Shields: It has been clearly identified that there is a need for reproductive endocrinologists in the IVF space. We recognize that gap and wanted to invest in development training for health practitioners of the future. By providing the endowment, this will allow ASRM to have creative programs that can be new and unique in addition to funding some of their existing programs, like the REI fellowship. This will allow that program to go in perpetuity and also ensure that the patients will again have access to these medications over the long term. There is truly a shortage today and we want to make sure that we're helping to fulfill that gap.
PE: What sort of struggles is the field of reproductive medicine facing?
Shields: The field is growing, the demand is great, and patients are looking for increased opportunity to be a part of that IVF community. Unfortunately, there's not enough practitioners in this space to make up for the current demand and, as a result, some patients don't necessarily get that immediate attention that they need or may not have the services that are there across the community. Our partnership is to make sure that we can help to bridge that gap.
PE: What trends have noticed in reproductive medicine?
Shields: The technologies continue to improve, the innovations are there, the interest is there, and I think public policy is also shifting to a patient perspective. It's something in the past that might have been seen as a lifestyle choice, whereas it really is a medical necessity. People are more open about it as well. There are people that are friends, family, next door neighbors, and others who, in the past, might not have been as open about the struggles they have with the disease state. Now I think people are a lot more open about it. In addition, there are a lot more people coming in to the space from various walks of life, such as the LGBTQ plus community. There is more opportunity for people to be more engaged, and I think it's more than open platform than what it might have been in the past.