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ABPI's Chris Brinsmead talks frankly on video

In a video interview with Chris Brinsmead, John Clare shines a spotlight on the ABPI asking questions many who work in the industry want answered

In a video interview with Chris Brinsmead, John Clare shines a spotlight on the ABPI asking questions many who work in the industry want answered.


"We must differentiate between education and promotion, and work in true partnership with the NHS," these were the words of ABPI president Chris Brinsmead as he tackled some tough questions from interviewer John Clare (of Lionsden) in front of the audience at this year's Pharaceutical Marketing Effectiveness Awards (PMEA).

The aim of the interview, a new addition to the awards, was to shine a spotlight on the ABPI and ask questions that many who work in the industry want answered, such as "Why is the message about what the industry does not getting through to the public? Is it because we're not saying it, they're not listening, or we're not believed?" And, "How do you balance self-regulation on one hand, without stifling innovation in marketing on the other?"

Throughout the interview, Mr Brinsmead praised the industry for its contribution to affirming its role in providing life-saving drugs and partnering with the health service.

Mr Brinsmead said the industry should "walk tall and tell our story". "In the last year, there has been tremendous engagement between the ABPI and the NHS, but we can't do it on our own. We must work together to shape our environment or other people will shape it for us."

This is just a taste of how Mr Brinsmead feels about the industry. To get the lowdown on what he thinks about transparency, the role of patient groups and promotion to healthcare professionals, watch the interview from the night.

Have your say...

Why do you think the message about the industry does not get through to the public?

Do you agree with Chris Brinsmead's comment that the industry should "walk tall and tell our story"?

Did a particular piece of the interview grab your attention?

Tell us what you think - email your comments to


Your views... 

John Lidstone, management author and writer on the pharmaceutical industry says: 
"John Clare's interview with Chris Brinsmead pinpointed one of the key problems of the ABPI: being the Industry's policeman and trying to be its cheer leader.

I have known the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry for over 45 years and have interviewed (and they were published), the last six presidents of the ABPI including Chris Brinsmead.

In the course of each of these interviews the dilemma of the ABPI wearing two hats manifested itself in the responses to my questions. Vincent Lawton tried to change the image of the ABPI by saying that in his two years he: '...hoped to make sure that we are automatically asked to sit at decision-making tables'.

Whereas donning the disciplinary hat, Nigel Brooksby's reply to my statement that many industry companies regarded a company's suspension from membership as a 'slap on the wrist', saying that: 'Bringing the industry into disrepute and being ruled to have done so leads to a significant media comment'. Is Roche UK rushing to rejoin its ranks?

Overriding these two issues is the question of how the ABPI and the Industry is perceived by the public it seeks to influence. Every President I have known has brought worthiness and undoubted technical knowledge to the role. But they have never set the world alight with their charisma. Whilst I do not advocate that the next president should be an all-swearing character like the late John Harvey-Jones, but one or two lessons could be learnt from his chairmanship of ICI. He was the first to put his group on the television circuit and every journalist wanted to interview him."



Please note: views expressed in this interview are those of the participants, and not those of PMGroup or its staff.

21st December 2009


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