CHANGING THE WAY MEDICINES ARE CREATED TO BEAT COVID-19 AND FUTURE PANDEMICS AND ENSURE WE MAKE DRUGS PEOPLE NEED, NOT JUST WHAT MAKES THE MOST PROFIT.
New initiative aims to return to days where patients came first, and physicians led the charge
A panel of eminent healthcare experts describing themselves as Friends of Medicine Modernisation have come together to change the way medicines are created, spurred on by the industry’s chaotic response to the CoViD-19 pandemic which has revealed disjointed and chaotic supply chains, over-reliance on overseas products and raw materials, a reluctance to work with UK businesses, inadequate forward planning, duplicated and sometimes flawed clinical trials, chronic PPE shortages compounded by breakdown of transport links and an inability for government to comprehend the scale of use; even the manipulation of statistics to massage figures. These have drawn attention to a medicines (pharmaceuticals) system that for many years has put profits before benefits and is now on life-support.
At 4 pm BST, 28th July 2020, the panel will be discussing the issues, modererated by Hedley Rees, CEO of life science supply chain management consultancy, PharmaFlow, and author of the J Wiley publication SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT IN THE DRUG INDUSTRY: Delivering Patient value for Pharmaceuticals and Biologics and TAMING THE BIG PHARMA MONSTER by Speaking Truth to Power produced by Filament Publishing. See here for details and to register.
The problem starts when molecules can be patented then shelved to prevent competition. Drug discovery uses a ‘shotgun’ approach, making trials onerous, expensive and time consuming. Promising drugs are held back to maximise profits from existing products. Only a handful of medics are involved in a drug development process, so healthcare professionals only see a new drug when their drug rep calls. They have no opportunity to give guidance on what patients actually need.
Difficulties like these are compounded by major pharma companies outsourcing nearly all their product development, manufacturing and distribution capability over the last 40 years, while moving offshore (mainly China) to save on the cost of their raw materials and intermediate products.
The problems are epitomised by the hundreds of companies currently competing against each other to manufacture a vaccine, with huge financial gains for the winner. These mRNA ‘fast track’ vaccines using assembled genetic code, rather than immobilised virus, originated in early 1990s, but have never been approved for use in humans due to safety concerns and poor profit potential.
No-one has ever succeeded before in developing a coronavirus vaccine, despite the huge profit to be made with a cure for the common cold. No-one can predict whether a vaccine will emerge that may or may not be of use, or one that if rushed, may do more harm than good. Yet government strategy seems to be reliant on such a vaccine being successful.
Recently the UN Chief, Antonio Guterres called for global collaboration within the pharmaceutical industry, stating – “We need an ambitious effort to ensure that international stakeholders operate through a harmonized, integrated and leveraged approach to maximize the speed and scale needed for the universal deployment of such a vaccine by the end of 2020.”
The time is right for our panel of eminent healthcare experts to facilitate change and breathe new life into an ailing system.
How will we achieve this?
“We want to start by showing that the current business models have not helped the majority in the past; why are we in a race and not helping each other”?
We will create educational packages for students wanting to apply their STEM skills and pursue a career in medicines starting at GCSE level. Then we have packages through A-Level, undergraduate, graduate, up to existing medics, scientists, pharmacists and engineers – we aim to instil a culture of collaboration and integration into this crucially important industry.
We will lobby decision-makers, government, learned bodies and trade organisations. We will explain how to unravel complex supply chains, highlighting the focus on patents not patients, and the harm and damage this is causing. We will show them a completely different way that has a proven track record of working.
Hedley aims to bring back the old ways of medicinal discovery, where patients were put first, alongside the input from medics with all the benefits of modern science and technologies – erasing the ‘blockbuster for profit’ model that is showing less and less returns, and replacing it with tried and tested methodology for providing drugs that target real illnesses, diseases and ailments.
The team of experts have proven track records in all aspects of pharma, including materials, manufacturing, clinical trials, testing, quality and marketing, as well as experience of expert systems, production control, and the latest technologies, and can drive the project in whatever direction is most appropriate to help pharmaceutical companies make medicines that benefit society and by doing so become major income streams.
Notes to Editors
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 7734 961726 for further details.
About Hedley Rees, CEO PharmaFlow, author of Wiley’s Supply Chain Management in the Drug Industry; Delivering Patient Value for Pharmaceuticals and Biologics and Taming the Big Pharma Monster, leader of this important initiative.
Hedley Rees is an author and CEO of PharmaFlow Limited, a UK based consultancy specialising in operations and supply chain management within life science.
Hedley held senior positions at Bayer UK, British Biotech, Vernalis, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics (formerly Johnson & Johnson) and OSI Pharmaceuticals (now Astellas).
His skill set covers the range of competencies from strategic procurement, production and inventory control, distribution logistics, information systems and improvement.
Hedley is a zealous advocate of the regulatory modernisation frameworks of FDA’s 21st Century Modernization (Janet Woodcock MD) and the International Council for Harmonisation (ICH). He graduated from the University of Wales as a production engineer and holds an Executive MBA from Cranfield University School of Management. Hedley lives in Bridgend, South Wales.