The magic wand experiment, which asks what you would do if you could cast a spell to fix a major challenge, invites you to think big, dream your wildest dream or solve the seemingly unsolvable. And when we asked leaders in the life sciences what they would change about the industry if they could simply wave a wand, many took aim at its most vexing problems.
In the first part of this magic wand series published last week, we shared insights from a range of execs about what they’d love to fix in the clinical trials arena. In this installment, leaders wish away many of the large and looming issues facing the entire industry, from reputation to drug pricing and more.
Give treatment power to doctors
“Removing the treatment decision from the payor and returning it to the provider. What an advancement it would be for patients if they always got the treatment option recommended by their provider for their unique circumstance first, as all humans deserve, instead of what an insurer wants to cover.”
Sabrina Johnson, CEO, president, Daré Bioscience, and a PharmaVoice 100
Improve pharma’s reputation
“It’s external reputation. Despite regular media headlines pertaining to aggressive product pricing, the reality is that the innovations occurring through extensive clinical development have transformed countless diseases from terminal to chronic, where individuals enjoy a sound quality of life while managing their disease. This progress comes at a significant cost via drug development, a fraction of which manufacturers need to recoup via marketed products simply to stay solvent to continue efforts to improve clinical outcomes.”
Jason Noto, senior vice president, U.S. market access, Aveo Oncology
Revamp patent protections
“Reduce uncertainty around IP life for new drugs by giving all new chemical entities the same fixed number of years of exclusivity regardless of when their patent protection expires. This would reduce risk for companies and their investors, make costs more predictable for payors and, ultimately, help patients.”
Dr. Sam Wu, chief business officer, Blue Lake Biotechnology
Make the patient space more tech savvy
“I would close all digital gaps that exist between patients (consumers) and access to healthcare. Today, the smartphone is almost as vital as the stethoscope and digital tools have been shown to improve health outcomes and offer more convenient access to healthcare, increasing patient engagement and satisfaction.”
Pat Leary, chief commercial officer, Phil Inc.
Tackling mental health challenges for children
“My magic wand would be focusing on kids', adolescents' and young adults' mental health. Mental health in the younger population is an issue that requires immediate attention. We cannot even continue discussions about prosperity and leadership if we first cannot ensure that we have the systems and the resources in place to teach the foundational skills for emotional resilience. We need to focus on equipping the younger generation with tools before the crisis hits. Our country's future is dependent on cultivating strong, resilient, empathetic citizens who can work hard and solve other challenges.”
Georgia Mitsi, entrepreneur in residence, Emerald Bioventures, and a PharmaVoice 100
Bring multiculturalism to patient advocacy
“Burgeoning racial, ethnic and linguistically diverse U.S. populations demand a courageous and intentional departure from patient advocacy business as usual. Eliminating health disparities and striving for health equity are not elusive goals. If I could wave a magic wand, it would be to weave multiculturalism in the fabric of the industry from molecule to market.”
Sheila Thorne, CEO, president, Multicultural Healthcare Marketing Group, and a PharmaVoice 100
Make strides with equity
"Equity. Across the biotech and pharmaceutical industry, we can take actionable steps to improve diversity and inclusion. From providing mentorship and support to under-represented groups in STEM fields to creating leadership opportunities to focusing on inclusion in clinical trials, we must prioritize making advances in equity.”
Jill Carroll, partner, SR One
Free data from its silos
“Today, data is siloed, and companies believe it’s their data, rather than patient data. Shifting this
perspective towards one of streamlined data sharing could address the availability and quality of
healthcare data and would revolutionize AI, computing, disease detection and better power precision
Grant Verstandig, co-founder and executive chairman, Zephyr AI; CEO, founder and chairman, Red Cell Partners
Smooth diagnostic pathways
"I would provide a simple, transparent and easy to understand path for patients across the entire healthcare journey. It can be overwhelming when you’re diagnosed and transparency would ease the anxiety of not knowing what their options are, what the risks are, how much it will all cost, and what happens if a treatment doesn’t work."
Catherine Wood-Hill, vice president, marketing, Phil Inc.
Remove access barriers
“Access to novel therapies is paramount for patients with cancer, especially children, yet barriers exist to developing safer and more effective drugs for rare populations of patients. By better aligning economic incentives for new drug development in overlooked populations, we can advance scientific discovery and improve access to innovative treatments.”
Dr. Joshua Schiffman, CEO, Peel Therapeutics
“If I can only choose one, then it must be removing barriers to access. Those barriers could be based on socioeconomic status, uninsured or under-insured, geographic location, lack of access due to race, gender or other discrimination. Regardless of the cause, all people deserve access to the best and most appropriate options available.”
Terri Wilson, president, Blue Earth Diagnostics Inc.