Last month I led my first board meeting as chair of the National Pharmaceutical Council (NPC). I’ve served on NPC’s board for many years, first with another biopharmaceutical company and now in my current role as Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals. As I’ve watched NPC evolve and grow during that time, NPC is now in its strongest position to lead health policy debates through new leadership, dedicated staff experts and an energized strategic research and communications plan that is more mindful of and responsive to the current environment. I feel both fortunate and excited to be leading NPC at such a critical time.
During this year as chair, one of my key roles will be working closely with NPC’s two new leaders, John O’Brien, PharmD, MPH, president and CEO, and Sharon Phares, PhD, chief scientific officer. Both bring extensive and diversified professional experiences to NPC and are committed to invigorating the organization’s high-quality research, communications and educational endeavors.
We also are stewards in implementing NPC’s new strategic plan, with its focus on key issues facing our health care system today. Topics such as patient access and affordability, health benefit design, value assessment, pricing and innovation continue to be front and center in ongoing policy debates.
With the new strategic plan, however, NPC’s mission and vision haven’t changed: the focus remains on continued, accessible biopharmaceutical innovation to achieve better patient health. I’m pleased that the NPC board has added an important aspect to this mission, which is a statement on diversity, equity and inclusion: to “foster an inclusive community and leverage equity and diversity of thought, background, perspective, and experience.” From a policy research perspective, taking a broader, more inclusive approach can provide us with keener insights to more effectively address tough health care challenges.
Though our meeting was virtual, it was clear from the Board members that there’s a new energy at NPC, and excitement about working across the health care sector, as well as fostering partnerships and important policy conversations. I’m proud to be involved in NPC, and I encourage anyone engaged in health care policy to reach out as well – whether it’s to collaborate on research, start a conversation or to simply follow NPC on social media.
Steven Romano, MD, is Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer, Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, and is serving as Chair of NPC’s Board of Directors for 2021-2022.