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ABPI appoints industry veteran Richard Torbett as new chief executive

Torbett initially joined the pharma association in March 2016

Richard Torbett

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has appointed Richard Torbett (pictured above) as its new chief executive, who will replace Mike Thompson on 1 January 2020. 

Mike Thompson joined the ABPI as its chief executive in March 2016 from GlaxoSmithKline, where he worked for 20 years.

Torbett initially joined the ABPI in July 2015 as executive director of Economic, Health and Commercial Policy. In that role, he was responsible for negotiating the 2019 Voluntary Scheme for Medicine Pricing and Access.

This scheme secured assurances that new medicines will benefit from fast-tracking from NICE, and that NHS England will also promote faster uptake – examples of this include deals on CAR-T therapies and the expanded use of Keytruda in lung cancer.

“I am proud to work for an industry that has such a profound effect on patients’ lives, and I am hugely excited about taking up the role of chief executive of the ABPI,” said Torbett.

“At this critical time for our country it’s vital that the world-leading UK life sciences industry continues to thrive. I look forward to working with all of our members and partners in government and the NHS to achieve this,” he added.

Torbett has spent 14 years working in a number of senior roles within the pharmaceutical industry, in both the UK and internationally. This includes serving as the chief economist at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), and as senior director and head of international affairs at Pfizer.

Before entering the pharmaceutical industry, Torbett worked as a government economist. He was senior economist at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the UK, and he also held a number of roles at the DTI, the Cabinet Office and the European Commission.

He was appointed as the ABPI's new chief executive following an external recruitment process with an executive search agency, and was unanimously selected by the ABPI Board.

“I am delighted that Richard has been appointed as ABPI’s new chief executive. Richard is a hugely respected figure within our industry both internationally and in the UK,” said ABPI president Haseeb Ahmad.

“We share an ambition to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines and I look forward to working with him,” he added.

3rd December 2019

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