#loveforpharma – Pharma Reveals its Beating Heart

We posed the question: "Why do you love working in pharma?" The scale of response was overwhelming.



Three days ago, with Valentine’s Day around the corner, I sent a message to a few individuals who I know, asking them for a reason why they ‘'loved’ their job in pharma. I thought perhaps this would be a good way of giving people outside the industry – potentially, talented individuals who could work here – an insight into what drives pharma employees. We’re often painted as the devil incarnate – but I know that on an individual level, we’re driven by something better.

Since sending my message, it’s been hard to focus on my other work as I keep receiving heartfelt, and in some cases very revealing, insights into what makes you get up in the morning.

Possibly my favourite answer was from Manoj Kulkarni, writing to me from Shodh in Mumbai, India. His reply: “I love that my customers are more intelligent than me.” In one short phrase, he articulated how not only do we get to surround ourselves with smart doctors, researchers and other professionals (a sentiment echoed by many) but also, that our patients will always be more intelligent than us by virtue of their sophisticated minds and bodies, providing us with a daily challenge. Moreover, it’s a deferential statement which reminds us that we are in constant servitude to our customers and it is their livelihoods that we are trying to sustain.

Beyond that, there were many, many responses which expressed the excitement of discovery and the huge impact their work has on improving lives. But there were also some unique answers, a few of which I have copied and pasted below for your interest. Clearly, we are working in an industry powered by a desire to do good, and increasingly, I feel we need to peel away our ‘corporate brand veneer’ to reveal the genuine intentions of the staff working inside our companies.

"It’s not everyone who can wake up every morning knowing that the work they do has a direct impact on human health and wellbeing.  I count myself privileged to be able to do that". - Jane Griffiths, Company Group Chairman, Janssen EMEA

“I love when all stakeholders have the guts to listen to each other, and where the presence of love for humanity is the key motivator - beyond curing, but creating quality of life.” - Ruud Klerks, Consultant

“[Over the coming years] Life Sciences will create revolutionary, sci-fi-like therapeutic approaches to some of the most dramatic diseases in the world.” – Ricardo Pereira, Healthcare Partnering Manager, Roche

“I love winning for patients.” - Anita Patel Jusnes, Franchise Head Respiratory, Novartis Norway

“I love the complexity of Pharma, especially in biotech when you work on living creatures which will help to cure other living creatures.” –ElianeTosoni-Pittoni, Founding President Koalign

“I have felt proud when patients have said to me that you have no idea how much I’ve improved since finding out about your medicines.” - Patrick Campion, Country Manager, Lundbeck Ireland

“The human instinct for reciprocity.” - Maria Hatzikyriakou, Medical Affairs Manager,  Janssen-Cilag

“What if we could combine data, simple & amazing technologies of all kinds to detect and prevent diseases of all levels early?” - Gerald Mueller, Global Head of New Technology, Merck

“To overcome divides and to set out for new horizons.” – German payer, name withheld

“We will all be patients one day.” –Lalis Fontcuberta, Patient Advocacy Manager, Sanofi, France

“The risks the sector takes daily… when a molecule develops from petri-dish to the hands of a prescriber, there is no greater satisfaction.”- Con Franklin, Director, MHP Communications

“I am helping people who I will never meet… but who I believe should be treated as if they are members of my family or my friends.” – Steve Hobbs, Founder, Patient Centric

“I grew up in a pharmacy, in a small town called Targu-Neamtz, in the Moldova province of Romania. I have understood since my childhood the importance of healing people with efficient medicines.”– Misu Moscovici, National Institute for Chemical Pharmaceutical R&D

“The drug you are working on now could be used by your child tomorrow.” - Gianluca Laus, Oncology Clinical Leader, Italfarmaco

“It blows my mind that small molecules, which are not even visible to the naked eye, have such amazing power on our body. Pharma is something which will never go out of fashion, or demand, or scope.” –Meghana Upadhyaya

“When you work for pharma it is like having ‘a dream come through’.” – Veronique Narboni, VP Strategy & Communication at Sustainable Brain Health Institute, France

“When you love something or someone, you are always thinking that you can improve - unmet needs, better access, etc... I try every day to focus my energy on this mantra.” – David Dellamonica, Global Integrated Care Diabetes & Cardiovascular Division, Sanofi

“Can you imagine any industry having a more profound impact on [people’s] lives?” – Dr. Jan Jz. van der Poel

“I started to work in pharma on 7th Dec 1967. After almost 50 years, I'm still here in the office studying and thinking how to define a new strategy for an unmet clinical need. The beauty of being in the pharma world is really the fact you are obliged to use all your intellectual resources to help people suffering.” – Gino Toffano, Italy

“It’s an extension to what I was achieving as a clinician: not a 1:1 experience but a 1: many.” - Alexander Simidchiev, National Physician Lead Respiratory, GSK

“The only industry which delivers smiles on people’s faces.” - Hitesh Jain, Market Research and Strategic Planning Manager, GSK

“I love the complexities. It is an amalgam of everything that is happening globally. A confluence of economic, social, and political discussion.” - Linda Lander, ‎Director, Data Stewardship Operations, GlaxoSmithKline

“It's an incredible time to dream… new data will be created through smart pills and wearable devices, and real-time insights will be harnessed to power predictive models of health outcomes.” - Polly Israni, Marketing & Business Development Consultant, HealthIT start-ups. 

“I love… hope. Being in pharma is the ultimate opportunity to eliminate suffering on this planet. Until that day comes for everyone, we give them hope.”-  Janet Bernard, MD, Medpanel Inc.

“It’s not about getting the Nobel Prize in Medicine (though that would be nice). It’s the knowledge that someone, somewhere, is going through a traumatic experience, but that there will be a new and different path that can be chosen and helps them simply say to another, ‘I love you.’ Medicines can do that.”- Albert Jaramillo

“I develop innovative, lifesaving therapies!  Who else gets to do that?” - Lynn Fallon, CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting

“Every once in a while, if you’re lucky, you have an opportunity to change the world.  I was fortunate enough to launch a drug that did this for breast cancer patients. In my country, there are probably 10,000 women alive because of what we did.” - Brian Laskin, TheFrontLine Company

“Viva la vida!” - Montse Marti, International Business Developer, MartiDerm

“You will improve the quality and longevity of life for the eight billion people you don't know. That is a very nice thought to fall asleep and wake up to every day.” - Glen de Vries, President, Medidata Solutions

“It's not easy to change the world, but it's a lot easier to have a meaningful impact in pharma as opposed to other industries. One great drug can do a tremendous amount of good.” - Bernard Munos, Senior Fellow, FasterCures, and Founder, InnoThink

“The greatest miracles are yet to come.” – Michael Williams

“Changing people’s outlook from despair to one with hope.” – Jaap de Boer, Director Scientific Development & Alliance Management, Genzyme 

"The disease cuts the freedom to imagine the future. The pharmaceutical industry returns you this right with love!" - Heitor Ventura, Corporate & External Affairs Manager at Daiichi Sankyo Portugal

“Of all the people I work with in the Pharma Industry I know of no-one who is not trying to improve peoples' health for all the right reasons.” - Richard Chamberlain, Founder, Chamberlain Healthcare Communications

“This industry must be the love of my life, because I was never unfaithful.” - Silvio Piombino, Gerente de Marketing en Laboratorio LKM

“I love our noble purpose.” – David Keown, Senior Manager Leadership Communications at Janssen

“Because I get to cry at least once a month! There’s nothing more moving than looking into a patient's eyes and hearing stories about how they deal with their daily struggles with such poise, courage and hope.” Kevin Starr, Partner, Third Rock Ventures

“I love leaving my footprints in an area that is usually considered the realm of corruption. I believe in an honest approach where our target is the health of the world community.” Maurizio Gaiani, Area Manager, Recordati, Ireland. 

“What do I love about pharma? I could write a novel on this.” – Jennifer Byrne, CEO, PMG Research

“The one place where you see the intersection of novel scientific discoveries, advancements in patient care, public policy issues and commercial concerns. Never bored. Stephen Eck, Vice President, Oncology, Astellas Global Pharma Development

“I can’t think of a unified human enterprise that has done more for the betterment of mankind.”- Andy Wise, Managing Consultant, Blue Pelican

“The Pharma Industry captured my heart many years ago and it's been a love affair that has lasted a lifetime." - Nigel Brooksby, Chairman of the UK Life Sciences Board, former Chairman, Sanofi

“Expertise that is specific to health is invaluable. I personally cannot think of a better way to spend my time at work.” - Andy Black, Chief Executive Officer, Kinapse

“Where once there was no hope there is now more than hope.”- Carol Vuceta

“I can think of no more honorable a career. Like love, returns back to me as much as I am will to give!” - Nick Colucci, Publicis Health

“Churchill said “however beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results”.  I take immense pride in the results we deliver as an industry – to people’s lives.” - Cressida Ward, Communications Director, UK and Ireland, Takeda         

“It’s such an exciting time to be in this industry – I can’t wait to see what’s next.” - Wendy Blackburn

‘As a medical doctor in pharma, we hear not only via auscultation, but also a poet's ear; we see not only via a careful inspection but also with a painter's eye; and we touch not only millions of lives, but also love and care for the lives we touch!’’ – Ülkem Erkent, Senior Medical Quality and Compliance Manager, Pfizer

"I love helping people new to the industry understand the rich heritage that is woven into this industry and the potential that has still to be unlocked.  It has some tragic and yet amazing serendipitous turns". - Colin Miller, Founder and CEO at EveryClinicalTrial 

“The smile on patients faces when they are told that they have control of their life back.” - David Wilson, J&J

 “What I love about working in pharma is change.  The industry is changing, patients are changing the way they deal with their health, payers are changing… now, it’s about coming out with life-changing products and ensuring that these products live up to their clinical potential.” - Kevin Dolgin, President, Observia

“Nothing matters more than your health.” – OndineWhittington, Managing Director, Virgo Health

"My pharma experience is like being in a fairytale.You just have to love it.” – Edina ĆatićĆuti, MD

There is nothing more rewarding than receiving that letter/email from someone thanking your company, your product or even your advertisement for saving their father’s, mother’s, sister’s, brother’s, grandmother’s, or friend’s life. – Meg Waloschek, Strategy Manager, Bayer


Please use the comments section beneath to express your #loveforpharma


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