TTGassociations Publications January 2019 - Page 12

Sabrina Chan Achieving loftier goals Sabrina Chan, senior executive director of Hong Kong Association of the Pharmaceutical Industry, talks to Prudence Lui about her association’s wide- ranging work to elevate pharmaceutical professionalism and Hong Kong’s competitiveness in the global arena Could you give us a quick introduction to the role the Hong Kong Associa- tion of the Pharmaceutical Industry (HKAPI) plays in Hong Kong’s public healthcare system? Founded in 1968, HKAPI is one of the earliest associations in the world formed by R&D-based pharmaceutical compa- nies. We work closely with different government bureaux, professional asso- ciations, academics and patient groups, consistently providing expert views across the entire spectrum of healthcare matters, including healthcare system re- form, research and development as well as patient empowerment. Though that mission has evolved over the years, it still follows the industry’s fundamental pharmaceutical philosophy that medicine is for all people. HKAPI also provides constructive advice on the healthcare system, sup- porting the implementation of regulatory requirements while maintaining supplies of critical drugs and vaccines to safe- guard the public. For instance, we reviewed the Drug Office’s e-submission system before its official launch two years ago. HKAPI implemented a pilot test on it and then gave comments to bridge (user) gap and to minimise bugs. We also offered training for members. What are the various functions of HKAPI? I lead the executive office and the day-to-day running of the associa- tions’ interest in accordance with the strategic plans and budget. I also work with an eight-member Board of Directors, who are our sponsors and elected by full-time members once every two years in AGMs. There are several task forces set up for strategic initiatives and system betterment, name- ly Preventive and Primary Healthcare; Patients, Enlistment & Risk- sharing; Open Access; R&D/Eco-system; Regulatory Affairs; Ethics and Compliance as well as Macau. I work with staff, sponsors and task- forces to develop policies and planning for the implementation of strategic directions, and support the effective implementation of strategic plans. Together, we review and evaluate pre- sent and future opportunities, threats and risks in the external environment as well as current and future strengths, weakness and risks relating to the industry. How big is the association today? There are 39 full members, 28 associate members and two members under Aca- demics and NGOs – the Chinese Univer- sity of Hong Kong and Hong Kong Cancer Fund. Multinational companies engaged in the research and/or development of phar- maceuticals remain our core members, including the world’s top 20 companies. Our member companies provide over 70 per cent of the prescription medicines in Hong Kong. Annual subscription fee for Has this membership changed? When I first (joined HKAPI in 2004), there were 53 members. That number slipped over time due to mergers and acquisition (M&A) among member companies. This is a dynamic phenomenon but it doesn’t impact our membership revenue since annual subscription fee is based on mem- bers’ sales turnover. The pharmaceutical industry faces high risks because of the costly and lengthy R&D process for new drugs, which comes with a high chance of failure. According to a 2016 study by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the discovery of a new drug through to getting the US Food and Drug Administra- tion’s (FDA) approval takes 10 to 15 years and costs US$2.6 billion. Less than 12 per cent of these candidate medicines make it into a Phase One clinical trial approved by the FDA. On the other hand, our associate