PhRMA Elects New Board Chairman

April 9, 2009
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) elected David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca, as board chairman.

On Apr. 3, 2009, during its annual meeting, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) elected David Brennan, CEO of AstraZeneca (London), as board chairman. Brennan succeeds Richard T. Clark, CEO and president of Merck (Whitehouse Station, NJ).

During his address to the organization, Clark spoke of the group's accomplishments during the past year: “We strengthened our marketing code, tightened our DTC [direct-to-consumer] advertising principles, and voiced strong support of transparency of company interactions with physicians.” He emphasized PhRMA’s support of healthcare reform and of continued efforts toward universal healthcare coverage.

In his speech, Brennan focused on PhRMA's commitment to healthcare reform and to promoting unity in this goal: “Some partners, who are with us for the first time at our annual meeting, were until recently absolute critics of the industry. For years, they used their resources to criticize us, while at times we battled them. But today, I’m glad to say we’re connecting around the need to reform a broken system.” To this end, he said innovation is key: “Quite frankly, without a pipeline full of innovative medicines, it will be difficult, if not impossible to create meaningful and sustainable healthcare reform.” Brennan pointed out that the industry spent $65 billion on research and development and that the industry has ties to more than 3.2 million people’s jobs.

Brennan outlined five key actions that would reduce costs:

  • Promote quality care for all, with an emphasis on outcomes

  • Embrace a system that supports a doctor–patient relationship and emphasizes prevention and personal responsibility

  • Bring about copay reform

  • Work toward policies that promote continuous medical innovation

  • Be advocates for strengthening the US Food and Drug Administration so that [it] can do a more timely and consistent job.

Referring to the understaffed and underfunded FDA, Brennan called it “an agency in crisis,” noting that it had missed more than 50 Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) goal application review dates in 2008. PhRMA is “working hard for increased appropriations to the FDA so that [it] is recognized as a watchdog with a full set of teeth. An agency with the technology and people it needs to do a more timely and consistent job in regulating us and bringing innovative treatments to patients.”