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​125,000 people have been vaccinated for COVID already. This afternoon where heard what industry and regulators have done to make this happen. Leaders shared their insights during the "APPA COVID webinar - Reflecting on a year of crisis: Insights and implications for the future of pharmaceuticals". Key points of discussion included:

It was essential for the TGA to remain flexible and adaptable in order to support industry (eg by providing guidance documents), and “We pivoted to focus on the real areas of need”.

Ways to expedite applications were put in place with the result being approvals in weeks not months; and central to this was preparation, the development of working groups and by focusing on collaboration.

This has involved many different groups and departments working together, sharing data and knowledge in real-time.

This allowed for many tasks to be undertaken in parallel rather than sequentially eg manufacturing plans were being scaled prior to phase 1 data.

Industry went to significant effort to respond to the COVID crisis – which including sharing data across competitor companies.

Previous learnings from SARS and MERS has facilitated the development of public health responses, vaccines and therapeutics.

COVID has pushed us to use new technologies and new platforms (that don’t use eggs or embryos) to develop vaccines.

COVID has been the catalyst for advances in tele-health and tele-trials, which has particularly benefited rural and regional communities.

Looking into the future it’s important to take the learnings from the last year and to remain agile and to commit to sustainable collaboration becoming the new norm.

Medical Affairs has played a vital role in the COVID response through communicating with Healthcare Professionals, thus leveraging their unique networks.

There has been a change in community expectations regarding availability of product knowledge as well as the speed of industry responsiveness to future events.

“Good health is the bedrock of a good economy and Governments need to invest in good health” which will also require departments to work together.

The COVID pandemic has made people recognise the benefits and contributions of the pharmaceutical and medical device industry, especially to the overall healthcare outcomes of patients.

 

Thanks to:

Tegan Taylor, ABC Coronacast

A/Professor Christopher Blyth, ATAGI CoChair

Jane Cook, Head of Medicines Regulation Division, TGA

Elizabeth de Somer, CEO, Medicines Australia

A/Professor Paul Griffin, Director Infectious Diseases, Mater Hospital, University of Queensland

Penny Shakespeare, Deputy Secretary Health Resourcing Group, Department of Health