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SYS-CON MEDIA: Interview

CMO ‘Very Concerned’ About Obama’s Healthcare Reform Agenda

A MeettheBoss Interview with Robert Spiegel, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer for Schering-Plough Corporation

In an interview for MeettheBoss.com, Spiegel was asked about the impact of President Obama’s stated aim of increased access to ‘generic’ medicines on the pharmaceutical industry.

“Fixing the healthcare system in America is a very complex issue and I am not an expert on all aspects,” says Spiegel, “the collaboration that has existed to date between academia, government, the pharmaceutical industry and the bio tech industry has been extremely productive … we’re very concerned that changes to the healthcare system and its reimbursement could easily shift this delicate balance that has worked well in the past as a way to make sure that new discoveries do get developed and turned into medicine.”

Spiegel also believes it is ‘ironic’ that part of the stimulus package will be pouring money into the National Institutes of Health to improve and give funding, which has not been “as high as it could have been in recent years to basic science”.

His arguments may seem expected from any Chief Medical Officer who is naturally looking at the situation from a business angle, yet Spiegel is very aware of public perception and the pressures on the Obama Administration to reduce cost and increase medical accessibility for the nation. His reasoning, however does not appear to be determined by business profits, but a future lack of further medical discoveries which may be held back due to a more focused approach towards generic funding, “new drugs don’t come from the NIH, they don’t come from university research labs, they only come out of the industry that’s made to develop and find ways to use the advances in science into drugs... if we say that generics are good enough, that the current medicines you have today in 2009 are probably good enough and we don’t really need any new medicines, I think 20 years from now we’re going to have major issues with an aging population and many diseases that still have major unmet medical needs.”

With media-flooded articles on global diseases such as the recent Swine Flu pandemic, and the Asian Bird Flu, this perspective from an expert in the field pulls into question public concerns on developing new medical discoveries in time to combat disease – will our scientific knowledge be up to adequate standards to withstand any major future pandemic threats? If Spiegel is correct and attention to new drug discovery slips, what will happen when the world is faced with the next major pandemic crisis?

You can watch the full interview here.

More Stories By John Funnell

John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.

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