Lecia Bushak interviews Chris Barr, head of U.S. CSR and philanthropy for Takeda, about the impetus behind the drugmaker’s “food as medicine” effort and how it’s working with nonprofits to measure the impact on outcomes. 

In her Policy report, Lecia also discusses the Justice Department’s proposal to ease restrictions on marijuana. 

Plus influencers’ spread of misinformation about sunscreen and skin cancer tops our Trends segment, along with bird flu concerns, and the reorg at trade group BIO.

Music by Sixième Son.

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Note: The MM+M Podcast uses speech-recognition software to generate transcripts, which may contain errors. Please use the transcript as a tool but check the corresponding audio before quoting the podcast.

Hey, it’s Mark food is medicine is not a new approach, but it’s been gaining momentum of late. If you’re not familiar food is medicine is a type of treatment in which so-called medically tailored meals or customized by nutritionists to a person’s specific needs.

Studies suggests the approach may be effective in treating patients with diabetes heart failure and chronic liver disease a number of public initiatives including a big one from the NIH have been promoting food prescriptions. And on the private side at least one pharmacies in the concept for its philanthropy program. The US unit of Japanese drug maker Takeda was looking for an Innovative way of addressing the problem of food insecurity, which is one of the main social determinants of health and Health Equity priority.

As it spoke with non-profits and Community leaders the issue of food acts kept cropping up more specifically they found people were winding up in the doctors offices but preventable issues to get his us armed decided to make food security a large part of its 14.6 Million Dollar corporate social responsibility initiative by underwriting three food is medicine programs in La Boston and Atlanta that focus on medically tailored meals can this help patients recover better to says its sing better response and outcomes with the Therapeutics patients were taking but food is medicine is not a cure all a more solid evidence is needed.

Tore that end MMS Lasha Boucher interviews, Chris Barr had a USCS art in philanthropy for Takeda about the impetus behind the drug makers food is medicine efforts and how it’s working with non-profits to measure the impact on health outcomes.

And let’s also got a health policy update for us.

Hey Mark today, I’ll discuss a new proposal by the US.


is restr

and the risks around it along with bios reorg and some leaders leaving the organization.

a Marcus school

at editor at large and welcome to the M&M podcast medical marketing media shows at Healthcare marketing RIT large

Thanks, Chris. Thanks so much for being here with us today.

Thanks. It’s great to be here.

So recently taquita announced a new Us corporate social responsibility program partners, and that’s going to be focused on building Equity through stem education as well as access to nutritional foods, and I believe the program is called food is Health. Can you tell me a little bit about why you chose stem education and the food is health program to focus on and sort of what these new Partnerships will entail.

It’s really exciting. We’ve took it is actually been doing a lot in the community in terms of philanthropic work over the last decade in the United States. And what we ended up doing was the program has evolved over. Like I said the last 10 years. We are part of a global program. So there’s a global CSR program that’s been operating a signature program since 2016.

That focuses on transforming and strengthening Health Systems around the world.

Since that programs initiation and they’ve actually supported 29 programs and with 24 organization across 93 countries.

And have impacted over 13 million lives. And when the opportunity came to say, let’s do something in the United States. We started to focus on what areas were the areas in need. So we started to talk to the community and talking with local non-profit Partners as well as Community leaders finding out what are the issues there. And you know Takeda is is not only a humble company, but very curious and saying, okay what what are the needs out there? What are the gaps? Where can we actually Provide support and and through those conversations? It was really helpful because one of the two things are really stood out was it was a need for leveling the playing field for Pathways and stem education and stem careers. But also where we were seeing particularly after the pandemic

was there was a real Gap in making sure people had nutritional nutritious food.

In their lives and we were seeing that impact on Healthcare where people were going back to the doctors. They were the mechanisms to actually have those support networks were really buckling and we were looking for innovative ways and not only that the community of looking for innovative ways to put dignity back into food access. But also how do we eliminate Foods swamps food deserts and the medically tailored meals program that we’ve been supporting as well that we saw there was a lot of need out there. So as throughout our discussions, we realize okay here are two areas that we can really focus on as we benchmarked with other not other corporations were doing we saw that opportunity that really aligned with what we started for as a company with our values and just our Focus. So that’s how food is held and Building Stone foundation’s

where elevated to our two philanthropic pillars

And from what I understand your 2023 Us corporate social responsibility or CSR program entails some 14.6 million that you’ve so far invested into initiatives with, you know, the goal of essentially as you mentioned reaching some of these underserved areas or kind of bridging some of these gaps and can you tell me you know where those funds have sort of gone in 2023 and sort of what areas that you’ve been mainly focused on and sort of what the impact has been so far.

Yes, so for 2023 we’ve actually committed like you said the 14 point six million dollars across eight nonprofit organizations in four different locations. So we really focus our efforts in communities where we were our people living work and the four areas this time around were in Los Angeles, California Greater, Boston.

Greater Atlanta as well as Minneapolis. So the Minneapolis region as well.

We had a little bit of a shift or not a shift, but we had a about six programs that are focused on the food is Health piece and two programs that are focused on.

Uh the stem component and it’s just you know, we’re looking at what comes in and and we meet twice a year. We have a committee that’s set up and a process that’s set up to review applications as they come in twice a year and we make those decisions based on

an application that follows a rubric Mall in our decision-making that focuses on alignment to our goals or alignment to our philanthropic pillars Employee Engagement, and then all so the impact in the community, so

A lot of a couple of the programs that we are supporting focus on the food is medicine. So there’s two organizations one of Los Angeles one here in Greater Boston that focuses on food is medically tailored meals programs. So making sure that might be isolated or don’t have access to healthy food are getting tailored meals that are working with their doctors to make sure that again in the nutrition of that complements with their medicine that this way they can actually recover better. There’s less trips to the doctor’s office on the emergency room, and we’re seeing better response and

In the outcomes of the Therapeutics that they’re taking the other thing a lot of these organizations will do is what we find is a lot of these underrepresented or under resourced communities their families don’t have access to the food. So what they’re doing is they’re taking the food and actually giving it right to their families which sort of defeats the purpose so these organizations are all so

Ensuring that they have access to their families as well. They’re getting meals as well. So this way everyone is being impacted positively in the home.

The other thing with one of our partners communities servings, which is here in Greater Boston. They are funding is actually going directly to sort of their expansion as well. So one of the things that they’ve noticed that they’ve been a catalyst for replicating this modeling other metropolitan areas that have the capabilities do this.

So they are opening up the center of excellence over the next few years that some of our funding is going towards to help ensure that other communities around the country can actually replicate this model again, that’s going to impact health care costs.

As well as communities that that are you know desperately in need for this another program project angel food out in Los Angeles. When we first started working with them. They were expanding to the Greater Los Angeles area and what in their need again was through conversations with them was the logistics model needed to change like what they were doing is was very helpful for that area, but they could not grow any further. So our funding went really to their Logistics and distributions so they could actually expand and now they’re actually in the process of opening up a new facility across the street to meet the demands and the needs and their communities. So really exciting stuff that we’ve been focusing on on the food side on the stem side. There’s an organization in particular working with call Project scientists.

We’ve actually been able to connect project scientists to another one of our partners Leslie University who’s been working. Leslie’s been working on a math a culturally math curriculum that they can actually deploy in the schools and our funding is gone there.

They were looking for a way to how do we expand this? We work with project scientists that had a model of working with teachers throughout the country.

Reconnected them with Leslie University they worked together and now they’re using that as a network. They use in the project scientist Network to actually expand this this new curriculum across getting students excited helping teachers learn these new ways to teach math which then

eliminates one of the barriers that we see with stem education because of students don’t have the language of science which is math. They don’t have the resources and tools later on to actually be very successful. So get them early was our thought process. We’re seeing that success and particularly in one of our areas in Minneapolis. We’re seeing a real excitement with this program and we’re looking to say, how can we expand the cross? So those are just a couple of ways that wear a funding is going and some of the impact we’re making and communities

definitely and I think the food is medicine or food is Health thing is something I’ve been hearing about more and more recently sort of goes in line with this idea that social determinants of Health are almost just as important as you know, doing the developing of the Innovative treatments once people are already sick, but you know, I’m curious what your thoughts are on Pharma companies in the farm industry as a whole kind of doing more of some of

This you know investing into food is medicine areas like this in addition to kind of, you know doing the Innovation work as well. Do you have any thoughts on what pharma’s responsibility is on that? I

can speak to Takeda. I mean Takeda, we’re definitely focused. I mean when we look back to our heritage and how we build the program, we always lean back to our history and you know, we’re over 2004 years old in the exciting thing is that we have a very deep belief.

In in our patient center, but also our social, you know, being social centering or Society Centric and how we do things and that’s all attributed to our founder from 240 years ago. And what’s what’s really great about to cater what I love about Takeda is the fact that

This shows up in a lot of the work that we do across the board. So we build the, you know, really involved the CSR program that we’re in right now. We always go back to okay. How do we focus on Better Health brighter future and that was always the core of what we did.

And when we do that, we always think back to our values. So our values are Integrity honesty fairness and perseverance and that actually comes into our decision maker. That’s a couple of our decision making process of

Patient First always First Trust

reputation in business and as a result of that.

We sort of always think about like, how can we put the Patient First in everything that we do so when we build this program?

And focused on these areas. We always want to make sure how we help and how we showing up in the community. How are we doing that? And that’s why this one food is health. And in the food is medicine have peace really seem to go hand in hand when we think about again our values.

And how can we show up in the community? And when we spoke with nonprofits and Community leaders?

It just kept coming up. We don’t have the food access. We’re seeing that there’s a gap there more importantly we’re seeing people going back to the doctors office where a lot of these are prevented and if we can get ahead of it, it actually helps us and

When we also looked at it, it was really an Innovative way of addressing this problem so we could give to the food, you know, and we do give to food banks, but we could give to the food banks. But is that really addressing the need that’s out there and through our conversations this was and this was a more Innovative and catalytic way of really making an impact in the community. So we really start to move in this direction.

And we’re seeing we’re seeing a lot of that outcomes right now because what we try to do is not measure the outputs but measure the outcomes and now comes takes longer. So.

We were watching it. We’ll see what it is over the next few years and then do we need to Pivot? Is there something we’re missing. But again, this is the dialogue. We’re constantly having with a non-profit Partners to say are we showing up are we addressing the need? Is there something we got to get ahead of where are the changes that need to be made and more importantly when funding our Quest come in actually talking with an opera profit Partners to say what’s the need like one of the things that we always do

Is we just ask them what what they need like a lot of people say like, where do you want to put your funding?

And you know again, we’re not the experts. So I’ll always lean on them to say well, you know where the need is let’s talk about this and let’s work out what’s there and that’s how we get really strong requests so we can go back to the decision-making process and say where do we want that money to go but it’s really been a good partnership that we’ve been seeing with with the food is medicine Coalition partners that we have because they’re all talking they’re talking with us. So we’re all always trying to get ahead of that and another big piece that we were working. You know, we work very closely with is our Health Equity Group. So this is a nice piece that we can look through a health equity line lens as well to say look who does one of those social determines of Health. That’s one of the primary social terms of health.

We’re addressing this on the on the philanthropy side, but more importantly we’re working with our partners to find out where that really needs to go versus US dictating workers.

Definitely and I wanted to ask sort of a bigger picture question, you know, it’s been about four years since covid started 2020 was, you know a big year with protests going around the murder of George Floyd which kind of triggered a bigger National conversation about Health Equity and health disparities and things like that. So it was appeared where a lot of Pharma companies made commitments to d&i and ESG and Health Equity. Basically, I’m curious if you feel the industry has made progress in those four years or if there are still some gaps that need to need more work or what are your thoughts on


Again, I’ll speak sort of from cicadas point of view. But I think we’re making a lot of progress in that area. I think it’s really been showing up in all the work that we do. So it’s not it’s really incorporating into our business and its really front and center evil with the philanthropy side. So we focused on food as health and the reason one of the reasons we did that as we were looking at Social terms of health and that’s through our conversations with the non-profits, but also looking at it from a Health Equity lens. This is an area that we felt we could show up and make an impact.

Um, one of the other things that we’ve done with our our philanthropy and CSR program.

Is we also volunteer a lot? So where are people volunteering in the community?

And we looked at this a little bit differently as well. So we were doing the day the month the week of service model for years and that’s a great time in our employees really liked it. But what we again speaking with our non-profit partners of speaking even with our employees what we heard was

you know, it’s fun, but

couldn’t we do this all year round or talking with our non-profit Partners saying it’s great. You guys come out this month, but we really needed this month.

So we took a step back and said well, how do we show up? And one of the things that we did is sort of shifted it a little bit and opened up the Playbook also because that was the other thing is that we were the one the CSR group was the one in control and a lot of the volunteering when in reality it’s personal and where do people want to really get involved.

So we started to work with our employee resource groups, which is from our dni group.

and by doing that we sort of shared the responsibility and worked with them and in

sort of trained them to take it over and we still manage it. We still oversee the data. But the reality is there are Pat most passionate employees. They want to get involved. It’s part of their remit, so they are and they’re looking to us to help them out. Well, we’ve also seen in that that sense is our nonprofit partners are happier because we’re coming out when they need us not the other way around and it’s really been a nice candidate here partnership. The other thing that’s really exciting about it is we’ve even seen our metrics go up. So in 2022, we had about 9500 volunteer hours across the US which was good.

It’s gone up in 2023 went up 138% to over 22,000. And so we’re seeing that it’s resonating with our employees. It’s resonating with the non-profits.

And we’re doing it with our employee resource groups. We’re doing it with Health Equity. So, you know, we’re really working together versus you know, we’re doing our thing, they’re doing their things. So it’s really incorporated into at least our philanthropic work, which is really been exciting and we feel that we can really get a lot more impact that way and we’re all so sharing information. So again talking with Community leaders and finding out where we’re needed and showing up in those areas.

What are some of takeda’s CSR goals for 2024 and what do you hoping to achieve this year?

That’s a great question. We’re we’re really excited about not only continuing the grant process that we have but looking at our volunteer numbers again, how can we engage more employees? We also have an employee matching gift program like like a lot of other biopharmaceutical companies. But the exciting thing is we saw a dramatic increase over the last year. So we saw about a 130% increase from 2022 participation to 2023 participation. So we’re finding ways to get more people involved. So participation as one of the biggest things that we’re really focused on for 2024 with our employees. How do we get them more involved in the community? How do we get them more involved in volunteerism? How do we get a more involved in employment?

In terms of the grants piece is looking for those Innovative catalytic.

Partnerships that we can really show up and build with

To build within the communities that we live and work.

So we’re talking with a number of organizations. Now we anticipate there will be others that we

have not spoke with that are coming in that we can have conversations with but trying to find out again like where

where some of those great Partnerships that are doing some novel work that we can get a part of and really really build the last thing that we’re always looking at is

what’s something that we can do that’s even more novel. So one of the things we’re talking about this year is

not only just working with a non-profit to build, you know to support programs that are already going on. But are there opportunities to work across other companies collaboratively work with non-profits collaboratively and maybe build something a little bit bigger. So we’re exploring that for this year that we could potentially do in 2025, but it’s these are always the things that we get excited about to see you know, how do we share some of the responsibility and find organizations that are doing like work and then we can we can work together to solve a problem versus

Just doing it by ourselves with the nonprofits.

Right. And is there anything else you want to add that you think is important to know or for people to take away from this?

The other thing I would add is there’s still a lot to do. So even though you know, we’re doing a lot of great work its

It’s really holistic approach. So it’s not just

cicada, but it’s also our employees. It’s our nonprofit Partners. So how do we all show up together for that holistic person when we look at nonprofit partners.

And we think about doing something and start to talk about it.

We’re always thinking about it from that that full approach that three piece is of our CSR portal which is our employee giving or volunteerism and then all our corporate grants. So we’re always looking for ways to say like, how do we how do we get involved? And if is this really a partnership that our employee will resonate with our employees and their opportunities for them again involved because

The more our people know what’s going on what we’re focused on the end of the reach. It’s going to be as we work with these nonprofit Partners to really make an impact in the community. So we’re always looking for ways to engage them. We’re always looking for novel ideas from nonprofit Partners from the community in ways we can show up because at the end of the day gets back to what we stand for as a company, which is

Better Health

brighter future so we’re always looking for ways that we can serve that purpose.

And really show up as a good quote in citizen.

Great. Well, thank you so much Chris for taking the time to speak with me. I really appreciate it.

No, I appreciate it. Thank you

health policy update with Lesha Boucher

last week the US justice department rolled out a new proposal that would reclassify cannabis from a schedule one drug to a schedule 3 drug. The move would ease many of the current federal restrictions around medical research criminal penalties and investment in the Cannabis Market.

Cannabis is currently listed in schedule 1 which is the most severe classification that refers to drugs that the DEA considers highly addictive with no medical benefits those include heroin aleste and ecstasy.

Schedule 3 drugs meanwhile are considered to have low to moderate risk of addiction and include ketamine Tylenol with coding and anabolic steroids.

The new proposal referred to the Food and Drug administration’s recent review of marijuana’s classification, which found quote some credible scientific support for the use of marijuana in the treatment of chronic pain anorexia related to a medical condition and nausea and vomiting additionally. No safety concerns were identified in the fda’s review that would indicate that medical use of marijuana poses. Unacceptably High safety risks.

Reclassifying the drug would not make it legal on the federal level but it would open up new opportunities for researchers to study the drug for medical purposes. It could lead to fewer criminal penalties and sperm more investment in cannabis businesses cannabis companies could also see the easing of restrictions from Banks as most banks currently do not lend to them.

It appears that the FDA justice department and the Department of Health and Human Services are all on board for reclassifying the drug. But the DEA will now have to agree to the change. I’m lesbian Shack senior reporter at mmm trending

and is the part of the broadcast and welcome Jack O’Brien to tell us what’s trending in healthcare this week. Hey Jack. Hey Mark, so

a couple weeks ago. I was listening to a podcast that I Like to Listen to Who weekly which talks about celebrity life and they were talking about a former cast member on the Hills who had spent the past couple years on various podcasts platforms, whether her own or others as a guest talking about the risks associated with sunscreen and and basically putting out a lot of pseudo science around that I was like, oh that’s entertaining for me, but probably nothing that we have to really talk about on the show. And then this morning as we were preparing to record. I opened the Wall Street Journal and they had a whole article about influencers highlighting these risks around sunscreen causing cancer, and then the headline very promptly says

They are wrong about this and so I wanted to talk about this because obviously Lesha has done her fair share of diving into the world of influencers and medical misinformation on social media. And this is kind of the latest one that we’ve seen crop up and it’s obviously not that new but granted that we’re here at the end of May heading into summertime. This is kind of the latest one could be the next Battleground that we’ve seen the medical misinformation space. So leche I want to get your take on it because obviously again nothing new but equally as frustrating I think

yeah, it’s super timely. I mean, you know, we literally just got some of the sunniest days and the warmest days that we’ve seen all season or kind of really entering summer now. So this this topic is really important, you know, I did a brief search about sunscreen in cancer on tiktok. And of course so many videos came up of people claiming that there’s a link between sunscreen and cancer contrary to you know, what we’ve heard most of our Lives which is that sun Too much exposure to the

On and UV rays causes cancer not sunscreen sunscreen is supposed to protect you from that but there’s a lot of people who are making this connection their videos are getting thousands of views and likes it appears a lot of this information stems back from like, I believe it was like around 2020 2021 when several brands of sunscreen were recalled due to having levels of benzene in them and Benzene is a known carcinogen the Cleveland Clinic breaks this issue down on their website and sort of explained the recalls. The reasons for them noted that the products affected were mostly sprayed style sunscreen that contained Benzene. So the conclusion by Cleveland Clinic experts was that you should not stop using sunscreen because of some of these recalls sunscreen is really important to protect your skin from developing skin cancer and melanoma lady in your life. If you’re exposed to much UV light and maybe opt for the sunscreen lotion as a supposed to the

straight the spray style products. Unfortunately on tiktok, there’s been some physician influencers who are pushing back on this narrative as well and like breaking down how like sunlight causes skin cancer. So there are some people kind of pushing back on it, but it is

Shocking to hear people are making this connection.

And it’s just so frustrating too because obviously, you know, we were talking to somebody who is so pasty. And I anytime that I go to the beach or I know that I’m gonna be out in the sunshine for any extended period of time.

It putting on one layer two layer 3 and whatever because like you said not only do I not like to get sunburned but there are those Downstream risks of skin cancer. And obviously we’ve covered a number of different awareness campaigns about the risks associated with skin cancer. And then you have this being led by you know people to have a large following on social media people that I think we would all consider like conventionally attractive being out there saying like well, don’t worry about that and it’s saying anything it’s it’s furthering this wrist of getting skin cancer and all the other awful things. They come in to the mix Mark. I wanted to bring you in because I’m almost wondering now if we’re going to start to see like these sunscreen Brands coming out there and saying like No And and having to be more proactive than anything rather than just trying to sell their product. It’s like now we have to fight misinformation too.

It’s not a bad idea giving that public health messaging perhaps hasn’t reached all corners of the internet where it should and you know, as soon as I read, you know, the misinformation like this I said myself up there’s there’s luscious next to assignment, you know, but

You know, I think brands should be probably more proactive and I think you know the public health messaging that the true, you know test of that is whether when you’re on the beach, you know, and you and you lathering up, you know say and you you’re saying do I really want to turn my skin into a sandpaper, you know, because I’m gonna attract all this sand and everything and and some people say, you know, what we’ll have read that stuff that you know, sunscreen actually causes cancer. So why should I trouble myself with it? The apparently the public health messaging is not strong enough to overcome that misinformation. That’s where the rubber meets the road and we’ll talk about this a little bit later, you know with the you know in our next thing we’re going to talk a little bit about bird flu, but you know, I did a little research in terms of I saw in the comments to the Wall Street Journal article people were saying that basil Carson. So Carson Omar the more manageable types versus melanoma which which is backed up by the research melanoma being the deadliest form of skin cancer and because it’s

It’s you know metastatic in many cases whereas BCC and squamous cell are very highly treatable, but people were saying that the article was conflating, you know, these lesser serious types with melanoma and that they’re causing too much fear. Well, I did some research myself and the melanoma research society says that what we do know is that exposure to ultraviolet light is the major environmental contributor to melanoma, so don’t think that you know, this is caused by any everything other than you know over exposure to sunlight this contributes to melanoma which again is the deadliest form of skin cancer and one of the deadliest forms of cancer and you know, I’ve got loved ones who have had various forms of skin cancer one of them live on a houseboat in the Hamptons when she was young girl and gone to the beach for decades developed. I think basal cell carcinoma on Noah’s a very large area actually.

Had I think size. So thanks thank goodness. A good plastic surgeon got involved. She looks fabulous fabulous now in their shoes in 80s, but this is not something that you want to mess around with people.

Absolutely, and I just want to add in one more thing here. Just looking back at previous coverage. We’ve had about you know, skin cancer and the use of sunscreen last year Durham Tech put out a survey that they had where they were looking across different age groups in terms of how much they know about the risks associated with skin cancer UV exposure all that sort of stuff and one that’s really interesting. I think for our purposes is less than 20% of survey gen xers and Millennials said they wear sunscreen all year and more than one thirds that they have used a tanning bed. And so that again I think it’s into this kind of being able to affect different behaviors that put you at a heightened risk and what you’re exposure is to and into your point Mark. I’ve been around people where you know, I don’t wear it for this or I use this different product or I use baby oil and it’s like

At some point there has to be that sort of consistent messaging and I don’t know who has to leave that. I don’t know if that comes from the CDC FDA from these companies themselves, but we’re clearly lagging if we’re here at the end of May and people are looking into the summer saying I really need to wear Camp. I don’t really need to wear sunscreen because there’s that risk of developing cancer from it rather than you know, the inverse being being that case so we could be in for a troubling summer there and I would hate to see the results that we have in the fall, but we’ll see what happens.

Yeah speaking of communication voids with our next topic Jack.

Yeah, so I don’t I didn’t have anything really written out for this one. I kind of want to be a little more open-ended because so I remember I remember at the start of the covid pandemic this back in like January february 2020. We first started getting those reports of cases in the US and the first case of community spread and everything like that and talking with my editor at a previous magazine at the time and she had said, I don’t really know if this is something that we can cover we had.

Just had an event in New Orleans in mid-February and I looked back at the transcript. No one. These are all Hospital CFOs. No one brought up covid. It wasn’t even a point of conversation and then obviously a month later the world shut down now, we’re in this situation where we have bird flu cases and I’m curious and I want to throw it to you first Mark and then Lesha feel free to hop in but you know, you obviously been around the industry for a while. You’ve seen H1N1 when that was the thing back in 2009. There were obviously the risk that people were worried about with ebola and zika in the mid-2010s. Then we obviously had covid-19. We saw monkey pox a couple years ago and pox now, but curious what you make of where we stand with bird flu now and really what our audience needs to be able to understand because there is a lot of the fear of oh, we’re going to go through this again, but then there’s all so this is not the same virus and all the other different’s sure

and you know, there was a interview with stat news is Helen Brown’s well and you know with the head of the cdc’s

influenza division which I’ll get to in a minute, but obviously, you know, people are aware of the

A status with you know bird flu that it’s spreading through the cow population right now, which represents, you know, a jump to different species obviously and a progression and it hasn’t made the jump to humans on a mass scale and there was only one human case right now, but the you know, the Echoes of what’s going on with covid are sort of undeniable here and there’s a troubling concern there in that, you know, when when Lesha interviewed Mandy Cohen earlier this year the new head of the CDC Cohen emphasized that there’s three aspects that are needed to rebuild trust public trust for her institution transparency solid execution of the agency says it’s going to do and rebuilding relationships as well as Partnerships. And that seems to be we seem to be falling

Down, you know one or more of those areas still here with bird flu, you know as one Public Health experts. She has a Blog Kaitlin. Jetolena. She writes a popular Public Health newsletter. I think it’s called yle your local epidemiologist and she noted certain troubling aspects of this public health response here and that there’s a big misinformation problem that the agency is not addressing information from the responses has not been easy to find on bird flu. It’s been in complete in complete has not been backed by data and that leaves many of us to piece together. What is she puts it very fuzzy picture and she goes on and on and her blog post that recommend people read that

But you know as I said, you know with as a earlier with the the sunscreen segment.

You know, this is that’s just kind of in a nutshell in a microcosm of why this is important that you know, you need to have the public health messaging right so that when the rubber meets the road and people, you know, and there’s still a lot of vaccine hesitancy out there. Obviously, there’s mistrust of the government and you know, I still think there needs to be a big, you know, Maya culpa, you know by the public health institutions from covid because there’s so many people out there that are distrustful and I think that’s the only thing that’s going to help restore trust, you know, but you have you know manufacturing and supply issues you have access issues and obviously you have the rest of the globe as well that looks to the CDC as the standard Bearer, you know for you know, these types of situations. So a lot of work left to be done hopefully will not you know, make the jump to another species and the transmissibility to humans will remain low, but as

Um this public health expert said we only get so many second chances before it starts claiming human lives and we don’t want to see that God forbid happen again like it did with covid.

Yeah, and I want to bring leche in here because it reminds me a lot of obviously what we saw with covid was the issue but we also didn’t have the tools at hand. I kind of remember when we were covering epochs a couple years ago. It was there’s this issue but in and to the credit of various Public Health agencies, it was stepping up messaging it was making these vaccines available and working with private sector companies to be able to scale up and meet the issue to your point mark. I think there is still that hasn’t been see in terms of even if we have the supply it’s what we ran into a covid like our people going to take these vaccines so they can understand the rest if this were to get to that point and you know, hopefully it doesn’t like we saw on these other cases but leche I want to get your take on it too because I know it’s been something that’s floating around in the past few weeks in conversation, but it’s obviously getting a lot more eyes now.

Yeah, you know, I I’ve been sort of feeling a sense of

Repeating history a little bit. I mean obviously bird flu as an as it’s not hitting as quickly yet as covid did four years ago, but you know the CDC announced that they will be monitoring the bird flu virus through Wastewater surveillance, which is a process that they really put in place during covid. So there are at least using one lesson learned from the pandemic, you know to to kind of monitor the bird flu now to Mark’s point about communication and Outreach. I do think there’s also sort of a unique challenge that the CDC and other public health agencies have here mostly because right now the virus is like isolated to birds and cattle and farm animals and the people who might be at highest risk of Contracting the virus are going to be far more workers cattle workers Dairy Farmers. I believe the first person who did get the virus was a

Dairy Farmer or a dairy worker

So there’s a whole other slew of challenges for the CDC to reach, you know, specifically the rural population and the farming population, you know, they have different communication needs Outreach needs to be tailored to to them. So it’ll be interesting to see whether the CDC is able to follow up on some of its quote unquote Lessons Learned From the covid pandemic and Mandy Cohen’s current goals. So hopefully it’ll stay under control and it won’t turn into a an outbreak among humans.

Yeah and your point so well taken there too. Less. There’s been a lot of coverage of the kind of bureaucratic infighting with CDC and these Public Health agencies trying to reach out to you know, different cattle farms and the universe the the Department of Agriculture being able to do the same and there’s that resistance that kind of federalism that obviously defines our our structure in terms of our way allowed to overstep here and stuff and gets a whole idea of Liberty’s versus public health safety and a whole other bunch of things we could do.

Whole podcast on it on its own but we’ll have to leave it there. I’m sure we’ll have more follow-ups and but certainly encourage anyone in our audience. If they have any sort of takes that they’d like to share with us. We’d love to be able to refine our coverage in terms of how this plays out and what lessons can be learned for our audience. We’ll go to The Last Story which is is coming through as we’re recording this so we don’t have the fullest amount of details with both and points news and Stat news are reporting that bio. The industry lobbying group is set to undergo a restructure and it’s going to lose about four or five liters the ones that I’m seeing here from Stat or chief science officer Cartier, esham their Chief public affairs and marketing officer Rich Masters and chief policy officer. John Murphy are expected to leave that’s according to sources that spoke with the publication Mark you and I were talking before we hopped on here about how this is kind of an outgrowth a lot of things that bio and the life science Industry has undergone the past couple years certainly since the passage of the inflation reduction.

Now curious about your take. I know you wrote a column earlier this year about Pharma kind of losing its luster as the industry where it had it, you know for the past 20 30 years in terms of lobbying and being able to get what they want on Capitol Hill. What do you make of this news coming out of Bio?

Yeah. I mean just to kind of quickly recap, you know, Pharma used to be the best lobbying industry inside the Beltway one long time operative had told me and no one played better defense its strategy followed a pattern support candidates who would pursue a farm a friendly agenda with generous donations behind talented lobbyists and sophisticated pure operation and when push came to shove the industry could fend off most significant attacks offensively things were equally impressive over the last two decades Pharma notched some significant achievements in particular the prescription drug Bill and creation of Medicare Part D and Farmers stands on the Affordable Care Act during Obama’s tenure both stand out a signature wins at preserved American Farm Innovation, Dominus during the respect.

Of errors, but Farmers impressive run kind of came to an end with the inflation reduction Act passed in August 2022 almost two years ago authorizing Medicare, of course to negotiate drug prices, which Democrat said long sought that defeat stun drug makers and after the aftermath hasn’t been much better instead of taking a Victory lap as it were over the last 18 months President Biden’s allies have just pressed their advantage, you know, we’ve all heard, you know, the rhetoric coming out of the Biden Administration more anti-industry policy like the administration’s framework for marching rights against government funded drugs Federal Trade commission’s decidedly Anti-Trust posture Visa, you know things that Lush has reported on her policy column, perhaps most troubling some say the Democrats are setting the stage for wide scale price negotiation that is to expand into the commercial markets as well. So I jack as you said I wrote that column saying, you know, perhaps Pharma has lost his luster and needs a new

strategy looks like bio is kind of on a fast forward, you know in terms of a reset and that’s what they’re doing now and you know with biotech and Pharma being kind of joined at the hip it might not be long that farmer takes its cue, you know from its biotech cousins, but I’m sure there’s the what to be said in terms of Why by the Bayou organization

You know that its leaders couldn’t hold the organization together as long and why that’s kind of their embarking on their reset now, but I will leave that to others.

Yeah, it’s really interesting to see obviously a union is only as strong as its components and then we had seen so many blue chip names leaving over the past few months. And now you have this reorg to your point mark, I’m curious if it’s going to be able to bleed over into farmers and that is still the defining industry lobbying group and they’ve obviously been aggressive in terms of targeting pbms and trying to fend off different proposals from the Biden Administration much. I want to bring you in here because obviously you’ve covered quite a bit. The moves of the White House is taking in terms of their prescription drug pricing policy. We’ve seen Bernie Sanders being a leading Advocate on the hill at some point. I got to imagine that these companies are bio itself just gets tired and yelled at the way. It hasn’t been in the past few years and just saying, okay, we gotta we gotta charge a different course here.

Yeah. I mean we’re definitely in a different world since the IRA has been passed and

Um, there is a lot of bipartisan support in recent years for even more drug pricing regulation beyond the IRA and I don’t think that’s that sentiment is going to end anytime soon. So, you know to to Mark’s columns point of whether these lobbying groups and then the farm industry as a whole is losing its luster I’ll be interested to see whether this reset or Reckoning that they’re kind of facing now if they’re going to kind of adjust to this new world that they’re facing, you know, all 10 Pharma companies whose drugs were chosen for the initial round of Medicare negotiations did agree to participate several of the Pharma companies launched lawsuits against the federal government hoping to delegitimize the IRA, but just at the end of April a federal judge tossed out to of those suit lawsuits by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Johnston Johnson, so it appears that their those legal battles at the Pharma industry.

Trying to launch against Medicare negotiations probably won’t get too far in the courts. So that being said, it appears that you know, the industry is going to have to sort of revamp except that the IRA is going to be implemented and that changes are going to be happening to drug prices in the coming years, and that’s not going away anytime soon. So

I’ll be interested to see basically what you know Pharma and bio sort of reset to to face this new reality.

Absolutely and you know, there were some high-profile companies defections of Pharma as well. That sounds like the defections were a little bit more precipitous with biome prep. So that’s what brought about the reset. But as you so much we will keep our eyes on this one. Thanks for joining us in this week’s episode of the mmm podcast. Be sure to listen to next week’s show we’ll be joined by Dr. Brian Anderson co-founder and CEO of the Coalition for health AI.

That’s it for this week. The mmm podcast is produced by Bill Fitzpatrick Gordon. Our theme music is by Susie him sohn rate review at every episode wherever you listen to podcasts new episodes out every week and be sure to check out our website. Mmm online.com for the top news stories at Farmer marketing.