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Novartis and Sanofi heads take on UK pharma leadership roles

Sector must fight for best Brexit outcome


Novartis’ Haseeb Ahmad has been appointed as the new president of  UK pharma industry association the ABPI.

Managing director, UK, Ireland & Nordics at Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and also country president of Novartis UK, Ahmad formally took on the role yesterday at the association’s annual conference.

Haseeb takes over from Pfizer’s Erik Nordkamp and will lead on overseeing the ABPI, the ABPI Board and the ABPI’s Code of Practice, which is administered by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA).

Hugo Fry, Sanofi’s UK managing director, has been appointed as the ABPI’s vice-president.

The president and vice president roles involve serving pharma company heads taking on leadership roles for the ABPI, alongside its full-time chief executive, Mike Thompson.

The ABPI has been tested in recent years by some thorny issues affecting its members, who represent the vast majority of the UK industry.

These include contested new restrictions on medicines spending and market access in England, but most especially Brexit, which has thrown a cloud of uncertainty over the sector for the last three years.

Despite indications that Theresa May’s government will try to avoid a no-deal Brexit at all costs, this remains a possibility. A no-deal Brexit would threatens the long-term outlook for the sector, and also run the risk of medicines shortage for patients in the aftermath of crashing out of the EU, which would endanger patients and could damage the sector’s reputation.

The UK Government currently looks directionless in terms of overcoming the Westminster political impasse, but the new delayed Brexit date of 31 October is fast approaching. The ABPI and its biotech counterpart the BIA have been careful to avoid criticising the Government's tactics, however, but will be lobbying hard in private for as soft a Brexit as possible.

Nevertheless, a flow of groundbreaking medicines, some encouraging bespoke access deal with NHS England, and a new five year pricing and access scheme is giving the sector cause for optimism.

The ABPI says the focus for Ahmad’s presidency will be to “take advantage of the opportunities presented by science, technology and data to help get new medicines to patients faster.”

As ever, the industry association will argue that furthering its innovation and collaboration with the NHS and government, the sector can improve outcomes for patients and also boost the UK economy.

Haseeb Ahmad

New ABPI president Haseeb Ahamad (left)  and his predecessor, Erik Nordkamp

Haseeb Ahamad, president of the ABPI, said:  “We are in a golden era of medicines discovery, where innovative science is converging with a data and digital revolution. These forces are coming together to treat and potentially cure diseases on a scale the likes of which we’ve not seen before.

“The pharmaceutical industry, Government and the NHS must work together to ensure that patients can access innovative therapies and that we deliver the kind of healthcare that all of us in the UK deserve.”

Hugo Fry, vice-president of the ABPI, said:  The UK is currently a hotbed for medical innovation, with discoveries that have a huge impact for people and patients all across the world.

“In the current Brexit environment, it is more important than ever to collaborate across government, businesses and academia to ensure that the UK can maintain its position as a leader in world class research and development.”

Article by
Andrew McConaghie

3rd May 2019

From: Regulatory



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