Dealing with Change

JLXDNN5BNEAs the world’s largest family owned pharmaceutical company, Boehringer Ingelheim has been committed to developing innovative medicines since 1885 and as the market has changed, so have we.

We have implemented models into our business that mean we are equipped to cope with the rapid changes in the external environment of the pharmaceutical industry in 2015 and for the years ahead. For example, we are reshaping the way we work with important NHS customers through Account Management – with the focus being on how we work together with them as partners. The well-structured change processes we have in place will help and support all employees to better understand BI culture, values and vision.

Part of that vision comes from what sets us apart from the rest of many other players in the industry. Our driving force is not to please the Square Mile or Wall Street but to fulfil our pledge to improve people’s lives across the globe.

Let me just highlight three projects that give a glimpse into how we are trying to make good on that pledge.

First up, BI is the main sponsor of the Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) in Vienna, now established as one of the European ‘hot spots’ for research in molecular biology. About 200 scientists from more than 35 countries carry out basic biomedical research there – driven by intellectual curiosity, they investigate the molecular processes involved in the development and functioning of all living beings.

At a time when there is much talk about ‘moonshot thinking’, BI has been doing just that since it started funding the IMP back in 1993. We are the only pharmaceutical company supporting this centre of excellence where scientists are given the freedom to explore new ideas and approaches to molecular and cellular biology, circuit neuroscience, computation and engineering.

Secondly, since 2010, we have been working with the not for profit non-governmental organisation Ashoka, the largest network of social entrepreneurs worldwide, through our Making More Health initiative. The ambition of this project is to deliver sustainable and pattern-changing healthcare models – prevention, diagnosis and treatment – that benefit individuals and society at large.

It is a lofty ambition, admittedly, but through our support of nearly 70 social entrepreneurs who possess extraordinary vision, creativity and determination, we have helped them introduce solutions that are already improving health for millions of people globally. These include a sports club in Turkey that is overcoming a segregated approach to disability and youth, a ‘Food is Medicine’ recipe book by the tribal people of the Anaikatti hills in Tamil Nadu, India and awareness campaigns on water consumption in France, to mention just three.

Thirdly, BI believes we have a moral responsibility to provide treatments to people in those parts of the world where lack of access is having a devastating effect on the lives.  I am extremely proud that we were part of the HIV donation programme, giving more than two million doses of one of our drugs for free for the prevention of mother-to-child-transmission.

These three projects are helping to genuinely improve healthcare around the world and are not driven by financial gain for BI. Far from it. We are more than just a business, we are part of a global community and feel strongly about making a difference not just in the UK or Ireland but around the world.

We are of course driven by science, creating value through innovation. Being a family-owned group means that we are able to react quickly to changing markets and be agil in our thinking as we don’t have to worry about the short term judgement of the financial markets. We have an excellent track record of getting approvals for our innovative treatments and we are now gearing up the organisation so we will be more efficient in developing and improving access to transformational treatments – we are well-placed for the future.

I am very proud that BI is at the forefront of pharmaceutical companies in terms of transparency and we go above and beyond the regulations. However, what makes me most proud is that we have a wonderful opportunity to get the next wave of targeted medicines to our patients and the changes we are making means they will get them in a more effective manner.

Please watch the video below to get a snapshot of how BI is changing and what we are doing to serve patients better.