DE&I in the Life Sciences
Peter Brenders of BeiGene Canada discusses the current state of DE&I in the industry (1,100 words, 5 minutes)
NPC Healthbiz Weekly is presented to you with support from Impres, Canada’s Next Generation Commercial Partner
A highlight of the 16th Annual National Pharmaceutical Congress (NPC), held in Mississauga, Ont. on Nov. 2, was the session on “Diverse Voices” regarding the importance of an inclusive approach in the pharma industry. The session was presented by Specialty Health Network by Shoppers Drug Mart. During the first six weeks of 2023, NPC Healthbiz Weekly will summarize each of the presentations by the “Diverse Voices” panel. Here is the last installment from that session.
During his presentation at the 16th annual National Pharmaceutical Congress, Peter Brenders said leaders must challenge themselves to improve the industry and lead without bias. He noted that everyone has unconscious bias, even if they are not aware that they do. According to Brenders, this bias is especially present during recruitment while reviewing resumes. “We actually read them [the resumes], we look at them, and we pick and choose. We find stuff that is akin to us, we like, or we understand. Anything that's different, we may fear. We don't like different. We don't understand it.” He is General Manager at Beigene Canada.
According to Brenders, the challenge for pharma leaders is to “choose different.” He said pharma leaders can have a hard time choosing what they wouldn’t normally consider and looking deeply instead of going with the known option. He also mentioned many leaders might think they are already choosing differently but must ask themselves some questions: “When it comes down to it, are you truly choosing different? Are you making that positive change?” he said.
Brenders described the fear that some leaders might feel when hiring ‘outside of the box’ by using examples from pharma. “Which of you have launched a drug? Which of you has launched a product in a category where there's another treatment already?” he asked attendees. Brenders then said that sometimes, even though the newly launched product is just as good or even superior to those already in the market, clinicians might not prescribe it often. He said that this might be out of habit, being used to prescribing the previous product. “And how much work is it for us to convince and to change that view in that prescribing practice?” he said. “A lot of work.”
Brenders also said that, in a similar way, tackling some leaders’ fear of the unknown also takes work. Overcoming biases is not easy, he said, but it can be done. It just takes leaders willing to try to do things differently and letting go of fear.
THIS WEEK 02/14/23
The U.S. FDA has granted approval to Jesduvroq (daprodustat) for the treatment of anemia caused by chronic kidney disease in adult patients on dialysis.
Mitsubishi Pharma announced that Radicava Oral Suspension, the oral formulation of Radicava IV (edaravone), is now commercially available in Canada for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
LEO Pharma announced that Health Canada has approved Adtralza (tralokinumab) for the treatment of adolescent patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis whose disease is not well managed by topical prescription therapies or when those therapies are not recommended.
Valeo Pharma’s Onstryv (safinamide) is now listed for public reimbursement on the Public Prescription Drug Insurance Plan of the Québec Régie de l'assurance maladie du Québec. Onstryv is prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson's disease.
In season nine of the NPC Podcast, Arnaud Lavenue, Senior Partner at Toc Toc Communications, talks about overcoming challenges, combining your passions through education, and being inducted into the Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame. Hear him in conversation with podcast hosts Mitch Shannon, Jim Shea and Mark McElwain.
CANADIAN HEALTHCARE MARKETING HALL OF FAME
The Canadian Healthcare Marketing Hall of Fame awards were established in 2002 to honour healthcare marketers who have contributed to our vocation and inspired others.
More than 100 honourees have been selected during the past 18 years. In the selection committee’s view, they represent a cross-section of the qualities that make our business unique and fulfilling. NPC Healthbiz Weekly will acknowledge one past Hall of Fame Honoree each week.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science from the University of Guelph in 1989, Bob McLay was not sure what his next steps in life would be. With a solid background in academics and football, he attended Auburn University Harbert College of Business in Alabama where he earned a Master of Business Administration degree in finance. At Auburn, he was fortunate to land a position as a graduate assistant football coach for the Auburn Tigers for two seasons.
Upon completing his MBA, he contemplated becoming a stockbroker. He had some friends who were working in the pharmaceutical industry, and one was a sales representative in the field. “I went out in the field with him one day,” recalls McLay. “I thought, ‘Well, I love this.’ It was at that moment where I thought this is really an interesting line of work. You are talking to smart people and the science of the products is always evolving. It’s not just a widget or something that never changes. You are really marrying science and business. I thought that’s what I want to do.”
His first job in pharma was at Nordic Laboratories followed by various positions at Pfizer. One of his key launches at Pfizer was Aricept, then considered a breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.
McLay held various roles before joining Sobi North America in 2016. Those roles included Sales Director for Takeda Canada, Marketing Director with Graceway Pharmaceuticals, and Vice President of Sales and Marketing with Merus Labs. “It was a great opportunity to go from VP of Sales and Marketing to being able to run Sobi Canada as General Manager,” he says.
His experience at Graceway Pharmaceuticals was also rewarding and prepared him for working in the rare disease space at Sobi Canada. “Working at Graceway was a great experience with some great people,” says McLay. “It really got me interested in small pharma. Working at a smaller pharma company, you can make a big difference. I quite enjoyed that.”
As GM at Sobi Canada, he oversees all operations and commercial aspects of business strategy and performance. For the last three years, he has been the Immunology Franchise Head for Canadian and U.S. businesses.
McLay’s activist efforts have included serving as Chair for RAREi, an informal network of Canadian research-based bio-pharmaceutical organizations involved in developing therapeutics for rare diseases, which has a mandate to provide a forum to address common public policy issues in the rare disease space.
“There are so many diseases that don't fit into boxes,” he says. “Bringing innovation to Canada is very challenging. Novel new treatments can be difficult to navigate through the regulators and payers when patient numbers can be really small. It is quite a challenge to work with public payers and organizations like CADTH (Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health.) There has to be flexibility, and situations have to be treated uniquely to ensure the most vulnerable in our society have access to life-changing innovation.”
It’s easy to get your no-charge subscription to NPC Healthbiz Weekly, and we’ll send each issue to your phone or inbox each Tuesday at 6:00 a.m. sharp.
You are receiving this newsletter because you are a client of Chronicle Companies, attended a National Pharmaceutical Congress live event or webinar, or previously requested a subscription to one of our newsletters. If you no longer wish to subscribe to this newsletter, please send an email with the subject line “Unsubscribe NPC Healthbiz” to email@example.com.
NPC Healthbiz Weekly is published by Chronicle Companies, 701 Ellicott Street, Buffalo, N.Y. 14203. Canadian Office: 555 Burnhamthorpe Road Suite 306, Toronto, Ont. M9C 2Y3 T 416 916 2476
Mitchell Shannon, Publisher; R. Allan Ryan, Editorial Director; John Evans, Kylie Rebernik, Jeremy Visser, Editors; Cristela Tello Ruiz, New Business Development; Catherine Dusome, Operations Manager
Content is copyright (c) 2023, Chronicle LifeSci America Corp., except as indicated. Are you interested in contributing to this newsletter or learning more about Chronicle’s services? Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for reading NPC Healthbiz Weekly. Subscribe for free to receive new posts directly to your inbox.