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Reputation & The Pharma Industry

Conversations on the Reputation of the Pharma Industry

On 25 September Jane Griffiths, Company Group Chairman, Janssen Europe, Middle East and Africa, hosted a multi-stakeholder event on how the pharmaceutical sector is viewed today and on practical ideas to help increase trust in our industry.

Speaking at the event, Jane highlighted that despite the remarkable achievements of the pharmaceutical industry and its contribution to public health, some people still lack trust towards the industry.

Alongside Jane, speakers included Prof. Anne Glover (Chief Scientific Advisor to President of European Commission, Manuel Barroso), and Frazer Goodwin (Senior Advocacy Adviser, Save the Children). Attendees also spanned a high-level range of stakeholders including the European Patient’s Forum, Alzheimer Europe, the European AIDS Treatment Group, a senior representative from the European Commission’s’ Health Directorate and industry representatives from EFPIA and EuropaBio.

It quickly became apparent that many around the table believe the issue of trust is not unique to the pharmaceutical industry, but rather an illustration of a fundamental lack of trust in today’s society. This sense of a general lack of trust in business and government alike was viewed as particularly acute when a link is drawn between science and profit.

Consensus was quickly reached on the responsibility of all stakeholders to involve citizens more and to improve communication with the public on science and research in order to advance the translation of “new knowledge”. The need to communicate more about the science and complexity behind our innovations as an industry was also underlined.

Practical solutions put on the table included creating a lay consultative panel at Janssen and establishing a new ethical code agreed in partnership with citizens and NGOs. The value of setting up independent, collaborative funding schemes for research was also discussed in-depth as a potential basis for building trust in both science and the industry.

As background to the debate, attendees were invited to read the report, Building Bridges, Building Trust: Conversations with the pharmaceutical industry. This report encompasses a series of conversations on the reputation of the pharmaceutical industry with civil society/patients’ organizations, politicians, media, corporate – and on their understanding of the general public’s view. In the report, French Member of the European Parliament Françoise Grossetête points out, “there is as much technology in a cancer drug as in an Airbus plane.” This powerful analogy is a useful example of how we can better communicate about the science behind our industry’s innovations in today’s society. To read the report, please click here.

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