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Seb Coe: pharma needs to collaborate more

Published on 25/06/14 at 11:35am
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Sebastian Coe

British Olympic Association chair Sebastian Coe has called on pharma firms to participate more in corporate-sponsored disease prevention projects and government healthcare consultations. 

Coe was speaking in London as an ‘international ambassador’ for sportswear giant Nike’s ‘Designed to Move’ campaign. The initiative seeks to promote physical activity worldwide and has the backing of numerous commercial sponsors. 

At the healthcare networking event hosted by communications group OPEN Health this week, Coe says that pharma could contribute a lot to such projects: “I’m hoping that the pharmaceutical industry can help us to shape some of these discussions because in large parts [healthcare] has to be about prevention. It’s not just simply a technological answer to a pathology.” 

He continues: “I do hope that you [pharma] feel you can play a part in this broader, and I hope more meaningful, conversation – please get involved.” 

Coe, a life peer in the House of Lords, has also helped launch UK government initiative ‘Living More, Moving More’ – a 2012 London Olympics legacy project aimed at increasing participation in sports and physical activity. 

He urges pharma to get involved in the ongoing planning process for this programme, saying: “If you feel over the next year in our consultation work that you have any particular skills or experiences that you would like to bring to the table, please do that.” 

Director of Medical, Innovation and Research at UK trade group the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Bina Rawal, says that she would ‘very much welcome’ greater interaction of this kind.

Also present at the industry event, Rawal spoke about the ‘anxieties and uncertainties’ that related to how pharma could communicate directly with patients, telling Coe during a Q&A session: “In this country in the last couple of years, there’s been a sea change in that relationship which we’ve been working very hard to transform and I hope that we can work together on that.”

According to government figures, only about 56% of British adults meet weekly recommended physical activity levels – and the effects of inactivity are estimated to drain as much as £20 billion from the UK economy every year. 

Hugh McCafferty

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