PharmaDispatch 2019: First two international speakers

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PharmaDispatch can confirm the first two international speakers for its 2019 conference.

The conference, with a theme of 'the next negotiation', will be held as the pharmaceutical sector approaches the critical juncture of 2020 with the negotiation of the Seventh Community Pharmacy Agreement.

Set against the backdrop of the federal election, a potential change of government, and a PBS struggling for money to fund new listings, the conference will look to previous negotiations as a guide and platform for what might confront the sector.

It will seek to bring an international but highly relevant perspective not limited to policy on pharmaceutical reimbursement and distribution. 

Trade may become an increasing focus of Australian policy-makers as the US administration reviews and works through the raft of trade agreements it maintains with other countries and regions.

Australia's bilateral trade agreement with US, which includes key inclusions on pharmaceuticals, could come under scrutiny. The fate of other agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership and potential deals with the EU and post-Brexit UK, is also an open question.

The PharmaDispatch conference will include former senior US trade negotiator Barbara Weisel and Joseph Damond from Bio, the representative body of the US-based biotechnology industry.

Ms Weisel recently retired from the Office of the US Trade Representative after a 25-year career.

Ms Weisel was the US chief negotiator for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, from its inception in 2008 through its signing in 2016, and negotiated the pharmaceutical chapter in the 2004 US-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA). She has an in-depth understanding and longstanding professional interest in Australian policy covering pharmaceuticals and intellectual property protection.

Ms Weisel is now a widely sourced commentator on trade issues and managing director at Washington DC-based consultancy Red Creek.

Mr Damond is also very familiar with Australia. He played a pivotal role with the US-based industry association, PhRMA, during the negotiation of the US-Australia FTA. He subsequently moved to Pfizer as its vice president for international government relations before his appointment to lead Bio's international division.

Ms Weisel and Mr Damond will join the conference to discuss their backgrounds in trade negotiations. They will discuss the relevance and strategic importance of Australia, what works and what does not work, the potential opportunities and how they might be leveraged, the direction of US trade policy, and what future negotiations might hold.

Their experience as highly successful negotiators offers insight to the sector from a strategic perspective.

Registration for PharmaDispatch 2019 will open during September.