A new year typically begets resolutions and the promise of change from most people. The promise of hope, really. Industry does the same, as well, albeit under different monikers—better drugs, better access for patients, better facilities, and stronger returns. Certainly, there is much pressure on industry to “perform” in the year ahead.
The ISPE conferences of the last quarter of 2016 focused almost exclusively on what industry needs to do to move forward, be it on the manufacturing, regulatory, or human resource levels. The world of robots, 3D bio printing, and breakthrough drugs for millions are all on the horizon, as is the opportunity to improve patients’ ability to access and comply with medical protocols. This is exciting, yet it will be happening against a global backdrop that threatens to disrupt world markets and shatter hope. Pundits are quick to remind us that as we mark the centenary of the Bolshevik Revolution, we may see new ones taking place on every continent. Media show-and-tells carry the voice of human suffering as it reverberates across continents. And it is a very dark sound.
Yet what of the suffering wrought by disease without remedy? It should evoke the sound captured captured by Edvard Munch in his 1893 painting “The Scream.” And yet the demeanor of those suffering from disease is anything but dark. We’ve only to remember Gavin Pierson’s story to know that hope is more than just a byword.
Last December, I left the ISPE Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing Conference in San Francisco invigorated by much of what I had heard and the conversations I had. Yet a single phrase lingered, a phrase whose aspiration seemed so large it felt impossible: “Delivering the [bio] pipeline is an opportunity to alleviate human suffering on a scope and scale that hasn’t been seen before.” The speaker was conference Co-Chair Britt Petty, who delivered the statement during his closing remarks. There wasn’t a sound in the room after he spoke that sentence. By giving voice to that silence, Britt verbalized the hopes of millions. He was referring to Alzheimer’s disease, other types of dementia, and some forms of cancer.
We welcomed 2023 with high hopes and dreams of what Women in Pharma® could eventually be. As I prepare to conclude my time as the Chair of ISPE’s International Women in Pharma Steering Committee, I do so with immense gratitude.
This is my last column in Pharmaceutical Engineering®. It has been my real pleasure and an honor to serve as your International Board Chair. Thank you for your support and I, like you, look forward to another phenomenal year for ISPE in 2024.