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Business & Regulation Trends & Forecasts

The Battle Outside Raging

It is difficult to ignore the increasing adverse weather events disrupting lives all over the world – though many try. From flash floods in Germany to rain-related landslides in India, Rwanda, and the DRC. And from winds speeds of up to 111 mph in Australia to wildfires recorded in Greece, Hawaii, Canada, and Tenerife. The weather is changing, whether we’re prepared to attribute this to anthropogenic climate change or not. Given that the global pharmaceutical industry has such a broad footprint across the planet, it is only a matter of time before these events catch up with serious consequences.

Case in point: in July, a tornado tore open one of Pfizer’s storage facilities in North Carolina, causing supply chain disruptions for customers dependent on fentanyl and anesthetic lidocaine. Fortunately, the damage was minimal and largely superficial, and – most importantly – nobody was hurt. Yet, this particular event should serve as a warning to pharmaceutical industry players – even the big ones – that any vulnerabilities that do exist must be addressed and that measures must be put in place to keep supply lines open, resilient, and responsive.

Not every victim of extreme weather events is so fortunate; lives have been lost and many, many properties have been damaged or destroyed in all the places listed above – and beyond. It is clear to me that the pharmaceutical industry is well-placed to help restore some of the damage done, and also save lives through the rapid mobilization of medicines and other resources. Indeed, credit is due to Bayer for having done just that. To assist in the relief efforts ongoing on the island of Maui, Hawaii, Bayer made a cash donation of $250,000 alongside a matching amount of essential healthcare products, such as aspirin, antihistamines, and antibiotics.

Philanthropy is a powerful reactive tool to have in one’s resources, but to proactively mitigate the consequences of climate change requires something more – far more – than pharmaceutical industry players can provide alone. I’m well aware of the awesome power of collaboration in and across the industry for innovation and production purposes, but the times they are a’changing; the battle outside raging will soon shake your windows and rattle your doors, as Bob Dylan prophesied. So let’s use that awesome power and those incredible resources to make the change work for people and the planet.

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About the Author
Rob Coker

Deputy Editor of The Medicine Maker

Following a Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and a Master’s in Creative Writing, I entered the world of publishing as a proofreader, working my way up to editor. The career so far has taken me to some amazing places, and I’m excited to see where I can go with Texere and The Medicine Maker.

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