As the year draws to a close, a lot of stories will be written looking back on 2020. Clearly, the Covid pandemic will dominate much of what we will be saying about 2020 in retrospect. With close to 80 million people having contracted Covid, and lockdowns crippling public life and economic activity, for many 2020 is a “lost year” in the great timeline of human life.
But is it? Indeed, each single patient suffering from a Covid infection and every person whose live is impacted by the pandemic is one too many. At the same time, I take heart from the fact how people have pulled together around the world to fight back: international institutions and governments managing the Covid response and setting up relief programs; charitable organizations, patient organizations and individuals self-organizing support; and healthcare professionals and the scientific community working at the front lines of the pandemic. The pharmaceutical industry has also been in much focus in 2020, and I am conscious of the responsibility we all have in this industry – in a year like 2020 but also going forward. And in many ways, I would say that 2020 has brought out the best in us. From the early search for potential Covid treatments in our existing portfolios, the rapid response by industry members to pledge donations in triple digit million numbers, the massive effort to ensure supply resilience of critically needed drugs, to the quest to discover new treatmens against Covid and the record development of vaccines – all of this shows how the pharma industry has also pulled together this year to help. So, for me, 2020 is not a lost year, but a year giving rise to hope.
Thank you to everybody in healthcare and beyond who has helped to fight Covid. A happy festive season to all of you and my very best wishes for 2021.