Article first published on the Pharmafield website 16th July 2021
My Mum, Mary, aged 73, is a retired hairdresser, and this past year she’s discovered a new passion. Medical science. COVID-19 hasn’t left the headlines for over 12 months now; the health risks, coupled with the incredible scientific work that has seen an unprecedented global vaccine operation, has put the pharmaceutical industry or ‘pharma’ in a spotlight that it probably isn’t used to.
Throughout my pharmaceutical career – and I’ve been lucky enough to work at Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) for 17 years – she’s always been interested in what I do, but never as engaged as she currently is. Now when we have a catch-up, she’s chatting away about reduction rates and probability values. She’s learned about hazard ratios and is consumed by the manufacturing process, reliability of supply, medicine regulation, medicine class differentiators…this list is endless. Like my mother, there are millions of people around the country whose understanding of what we do in ‘pharma’ has been transformed by our collective experience of COVID-19.
Storytelling is key to sharing our science
While the communication around the pandemic hasn’t been entirely smooth sailing, the industry has learned how to better communicate with a wider public about the complexities of the work it does.