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Center for
Social Innovation

Center for Social Innovation

Pharmaceutical Innovation

Jack Watters, Vice President for External Medical Affairs, Pfizer
Published: June 07, 2011

"I am firmly of the opinion that you've only done half the job if you've developed the new medicine--unless you can get it to all the people who could potentially benefit from it," says Jack Watters. He believes that the pharmaceutical industry has not only the power, but also the responsibility, to make a difference in public health. Watters charts the legacy of the AIDs epidemic of the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s to push the world--and drug companies in particular--to recognize the inaffordability of medicine for people in developing countries. Watters goes on to discuss the impact Pfizer has had on health in Africa through the development of drug programs in partnership with local NGOs and governments. He then discusses the necessity of repeated clinical trials for the development of effective, low-cost drugs and the challenges that come along with clinical trials. Yet medicine aside, Watters believes the most important health measure of the public health sector is the education of girls and women. He closes by emphasizing the importance of creative health solutions, stating, "We've got a long way to go but without an innovative pharmaceutical industry, I do not believe we have a chance of ever reaching [disease eradication]."

Watters, MD is Pfizer's Vice President for External Medical Affairs, responsible for relations with medical societies, academic institutions and government health bodies around the globe. His talk was part of the Global Health Speaker Series.