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The Pharma Summit 2011

The Economist's Pharma Summit 2011 conference: "Reinventing pharma for a new generation" is took place on February 10.  Catch-up with PMLiVE's post-conference report

The Economist's Pharma Summit 2011 conference: "Reinventing pharma for a new generation" took place on February 10, at London's Dorchester hotel. 

"A new approach to research and policies that support medical innovation will help the pharma industry address diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease," according to Dr John Lechleiter, chairman, president and CEO of Eli Lilly.

Lechleiter told delegates that changes needed to be made to the way companies conduct research.

"Our industry is taking too long, we're spending too much, and we're producing far too little," he told the audience. "Unless we change the way we do research, we won't translate this knowledge into advances for patients. In the face of diminishing results, we can't simply perform the same old rituals and hope for a different outcome."

Lechleiter said the new approach to research would only be successful if matched with regulations that support an environment of innovation.

Speaker David Redfern, chief strategy officer at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), echoed Lechleiter: "A blockbuster every three or four years is not good enough. Every company needs to change. The pressure from investors in generating return on investment in R&D is huge; we have to be ruthless about how we move money around."

However, he added: "The industry is moving fast to re-establish its business model. There is a tremendous amount of change – with new and younger CEOs joining companies. It's an exciting time."

The industry's reputation was also scrutinised at the event. Jeremy Taylor, chief executive of patient group National Voices, told the conference: "The pharma industry needs to better at articulating its stills and knowledge to its partners ... It is not distrusted. Banks and financial industry are the least trusted – pharma is in the middle." 

Håkan Björklund, CEO of Nycomed, added: "We need to explain to patients about costs and innovation. If it doesn't happen it will close the industry. We need customer support." 

Other topics on the programme were orphan drugs, which resulted in AKU Society chairman Dr Nicolas Sireau calling for a campaign to raise their awareness, while the role of social media in personalised medicine was welcomed.

AKU Society chairman Dr Nicolas Sireau called for a campaign to raise awareness of orphan drugs, which he believed could pave the way to finding other new treatments. 

This personalisation of medicines was a key theme through the day, with James Allen Heywood from PatientsLikeMe demonstrating how detailed information on the site about patients' treatments, symptoms and side effects were being used to form a better picture of diseases.

During the event, delegates at the event and external observers provided live commentary via Twitter, which was available on PMLiVE for the duration of the content. A selection of the tweets can be viewed below.

An in-depth report will be published in the March issue of Pharmaceutical Market Europe (PME) magazine. 

10th February 2011

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