As yet another year begins, we have to wonder whether the healthcare system on which we all rely has ever witnessed such tumult. It comes to something when people in the UK – the civilised world, no less! – genuinely didn’t know what the drill was if they were to fall ill.
NHS strikes, ambulance tailbacks, staf shortages, pharmacy underusage, appointment abyss and fu chaos are all contributing to a lack of certainty. Meanwhile, as a country we deploy with absolute reliability the paradigm that the ‘NHS is the envy of the world’. In principle it probably is, but getting it to function is not the desire of anyone (irrespective of whether they studied maths until they were 18).
Perhaps the one silver lining, amid the chaos, is the curious certainty that in the middle of all this is our industry – pharma. Stuck in the middle… Stuck in the middle with you. You can see where I’m going with this.
There is, however, some real truth beyond the lyrics. UK pharma, even in the midst of wider healthcare tornadoes, is taking vast leaps into mind-boggling treatment wizardry – genomic research, accelerating new cancer therapies, redesigning clinical trials, developing digital medicine and staying ahead of COVID-19 variants.
Yes, the pistons of our industry continue to whistle and the myriad cylinders defantly fre, regardless of the situation on the ground. And, although we wish the ground to stop tremoring as soon as humanly possible, it does serve to illustrate that the independence of pharma has never been more important.