Distinguished Speaker Seminar - Dr Albert Bourla

About the event

The Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc focuses on fairness and the future in the pharmaceutical industry.

From the lack of infrastructure for prescribing and administering medicines in developing countries, to the high costs involved in treating rare diseases, the challenges of inequity in healthcare emerge as a recurring theme during this Distinguished Speaker Seminar.

Eleanor Murray, Associate Dean for Executive Education and Senior Fellow in Management Practice at Saïd Business School, hosts a conversation with Dr Albert Bourla, the Chairman and CEO of Pfizer Incorporated. Pfizer, of course, was one of the companies involved in producing and manufacturing a Covid-19 vaccine in record time in 2020, confirming the effectiveness of Dr Bourla’s decision to refocus the company on science. He discusses the benefits of collaboration within a broad ecosystem, the power of diversity in organisations and top teams and the priorities of leaders in global organisations.

Key topics discussed

Strategic decision-making

The most important decision a leader makes is where to focus the business. This takes collaboration with the top team and a broad awareness of the business context now and in the future: ‘If you make mistake and it is a strategic mistake, usually you don't see it a year or two later: usually you see it four or five years later.’

Challenges and opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector

With thousands of small biotech firms, large university research departments and even larger pharmaceutical companies, there is a thriving and busy ecosystem of organisations capable of collaborating in different ways to advance solutions for unmet medical needs. Artificial intelligence (AI), if well regulated, has the potential to contribute at every stage, from organising clinical trials to manufacturing and distribution.

Ensuring that medicines are available to everyone

The publicly-funded healthcare systems in Europe have their limitations, but so too does the hybrid, part private-insurance-backed system in the USA: a wide variety of medical innovations are available, ‘but not for everybody'. Dr Bourla also talks about attempts to make medicines available in Africa at cost, and about the need to provide training and infrastructure (for medicine storage, for example) so that they can be used.

Watch a video of the full event.