3 Transatlantic Healthcare Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

Healthcare professionals on both sides of the Atlantic can take away some valuable lessons for moving forward and maintaining a competitive edge, domestically and globally.


Air Date: December 9, 2021

Moderator: Donna Leinwand Leger, Senior Advisor, Stanton Communications

Featured Guests: Michaela Chen, Vice President of International Government Affairs, Boston Scientific, David Earnshaw, Associate Vice President for European Policy, MSD, Terri Stewart, Vice President and Head of Global Innovative Medicine Franchise Policy, EMD Serono

As the COVID-19 pandemic remains a global threat, it’s important for healthcare professionals and experts across the world to work together and share what they’ve learned. Our transatlantic partnerships are essential to maintaining our competitive edge and providing the best healthcare possible.

Based on an expert panel discussion from the third annual Transatlantic Business Works Summit, here are three lessons healthcare professionals from both sides of the Atlantic are taking away from the pandemic.

We Must Maintain a Resilient Healthcare System on a Global Level

Michaela Chen, VP of international government affairs at Boston Scientific, stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a “collective eye-opener” about the importance of health on an individual level as well as a global level. The coronavirus has shown policymakers how crucial it is to have resilient healthcare systems on a global scale.

Chen stressed the need for the global ecosystem to “have open trade, resilient supply chains, [and a] stable regulatory environment, and provide the right incentives for med tech and pharma companies.”

“We often say that health is the most important thing in life, but we hardly ever mean it unless something bad happens to us or our family members,” she said.

Individual Countries Must Share Data Equally

At the beginning of the pandemic, many counties (especially across Europe), adopted policies that benefited their people but hurt other countries. According to David Earnshaw, associate vice president for European Policy at MSD, these “beggar-thy-neighbor policies,” actually worsened the pandemic for much of Europe.

“I think it's really important that individual European countries get to the point where they feel they're able to show data about … the progress of the pandemic in their countries,” he said. “They need to share this data easily with the neighboring countries and with other countries within the European Union.”

“So long as the data is not shared evenly around the European Union, we’ll never be able to equally, quickly, promptly allocate medicines to where they're needed,” Earnshaw continued. “The only way around that problem is if we have a European perspective, not 27 different perspectives.”

We Must Continue To Equip Individuals with the Guidance to Make it Through the Pandemic

While many are quick to call this time the “post-pandemic era,” COVID is still very much a threat — and health professionals across the world must come together to continue this battle.

“When we look both at our domestic and our global policy, if our focus is not on removing barriers to innovation and encouraging policies that will actually strengthen our healthcare systems, give greater guidance to patients, increase our ability to respond, then it's really not worth our effort,” said Terri Stewart, VP and head of Global Innovative Medicine Franchise Policy at EMD Serono.

She added that it’s important to remove tariffs and encourage regulatory bodies to work together, especially for medically-vulnerable people.

“We want to prepare ourselves and equip people to live in what is our reality — that these are the types of issues that are gonna affect us domestically [and] globally,” she said. “[We must] give guidance to these patients on how they continue their lives, continue their treatments, and continue to live during the pandemic.”