Sustainable Solutions for Patients’ Sake

Blasine Penkowski, of Johnson & Johnson, Chair of the National Pharmaceutical Council's Board of Directors

By Blasine Penkowski, Chair, National Pharmaceutical Council Board of Directors, and Chief Strategic Customer Officer, Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc.

COVID-19 has led many of us to take a look at the health care system we have – and ask hard questions about the health care system we need. The pandemic has revealed, often starkly, what works in our system and what does not. 

Building a more resilient system where patients have better access to care, including medicines, means payers, policymakers and manufacturers must work together to generate sustainable solutions. We can start by asking the right questions:

  • Which policies implemented during the pandemic should be made permanent?
  • How does the economic fallout of COVID-19 change how we view the value of innovation?
  • How should awareness of health disparities shape the ways in which we generate evidence, assess value, support access, and drive innovation?

As we seek broader dialogue about these questions, NPC will continue to convene stakeholders in settings such as the Going Below The Surface Forum. Our conversations will help clarify how to transform health care stakeholders’ positive actions – bright spots amid the crisis – into sustainable improvements for patients:

  • As indicated by the fact that during the pandemic many access hurdles have come down, there’s broad recognition that they impede care. Barriers to patient access should continue to fall.
  • We should encourage developments that bring broader and more efficient access to care, such as the growth of telehealth.
  • To stay ahead of emerging health threats, we need to keep investing in innovation and advancing science.

Although it is too early to determine the full impact of COVID-19 on the health system, these insights can guide us toward meaningful change. In the meantime, it will take continued dialogue, creative thinking, and strong collaboration to address our uncertain future – and ensure that it’s a better future for patients.