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Catching up with Tamar

Frank Dolan, CEO of ARSENAL ADVISORS, caught up with Tamar Thompson, Vice President of Government Affairs at Alexion Pharmaceuticals, at the REIMAGINE BioPharma Summit on February 25, 2021

With so much activity and uncertainty in Washington, Tamar shared her outlook on the issues that the biotech, pharmaceutical, and medtech industries should be watching.

Enjoy the video replay and transcript below.

Transcription of the video

[00:00:16.970] – Frank Dolan

All right, well, welcome to our next session. Again I’m Frank Dolan from ARSENAL ADVISORS. I’m really excited about this next segment. Gosh, it means so much to our industry right to reimagine government affairs. I mean it’s an appropriate topic. A lot is happening right now, certainly globally, but very much in the US. And while we’re all watching what’s happening with the administration and lots of things that affect the industry, we’ve got a real expert to help us uncover and unravel what’s going on.

 

[00:00:50.990] – Frank Dolan

I want to introduce to the stage Tamar Thompson. She’s a vice president at Alexion and absolutely one of my favorite people in the industry, Tamar. I’m so lucky we get to spend like 40 minutes together. This is awesome. Welcome.

 

[00:01:03.770] – Tamar Thompson

Thank you so much. And as you know, you are absolutely one of my favorite people in the world. I look so forward to getting to do these chats with you. And I’m sure today it’s going to be fun and fantastic as always. So thanks for having me.

 

[00:01:16.880] – Frank Dolan

Hey, my pleasure. There’s certainly a lot for us to talk about.

 

[00:01:20.510] – Tamar Thompson

Indeed.

 

[00:01:23.030] – Frank Dolan

So maybe just to make sure everyone is knows really about you because you’ve got an amazing career team or maybe tell us a little bit about your professional journey and then what are you up to right now?

 

[00:01:34.250] – Tamar Thompson

Sure.

 

[00:01:35.660] – Tamar Thompson

Well, the journey is, as you know, Frank, we’ve talked about this a number of times. My journey is unique. I am not a traditional government affairs policy person by any stretch of the measure. Would say that my background is actually more market access commercial and I happenstance my way into government affairs, if you will, from a reimbursement journey. So I started out on the provider side of things, working in health information management and medical coding, and then moved over to the customer side of things on the managed care side and ran a claims department for Humana Company for a number of years and then found my way into life sciences.

 

[00:02:16.340] – Tamar Thompson

And then entry was through GE Health Care. I worked for GE for a number of years and then moved over into diagnostics and pharma. And currently I am the VP of Government Affairs and Policy for Alexion Pharmaceuticals.

 

[00:02:32.450] – Frank Dolan

Outstanding. Well, I remember a day when colleagues like us and many others could go out in DC to busy restaurants and have those noisy conversations, which were very, very interesting. Well, I don’t know what those conversations might be like on the other side of this pandemic, but they have to be interesting now that we’ve got a new administration. So Tamar fill us in, like what’s what’s going on in D.C.?

 

[00:03:01.370] – Tamar Thompson

Yeah. You know, I think you and I have had some of those loud restaurant filled conversations over a course of time, and I certainly miss them. Much more to the occasion of what we’re doing today is how D.C. functions as well. I mean, there are many people who are still brave enough to to to how are the halls of the Congress. And I appreciate them. And some of them are on my payroll. Thank you.

 

[00:03:26.840] – Tamar Thompson

But for those of us in my role and in the teams of pharma companies, we’re doing a lot of this. We’re doing a lot of Zoom conversations. We’re doing a lot of trade association conversations to really get to understand and know the new administration better. So it’s it’s a new, unique way of doing business for D.C.. Right.

 

[00:03:47.330] – Tamar Thompson

We are certainly used to kind of a hands on touch. And I think the good news is, is that Joe Biden is no stranger to D.C. There’s long standing relationships in this town. And so that I think it’s comforting for many of us that we all know someone who knows Joe and working through that. And I think the exciting thing to see is right now the administration naming people who will be serving in significant roles and the nominees and what those folks are where they’re coming from, many of them are coming from places that I know well.

 

[00:04:25.880] – Tamar Thompson

When you think about the nominee for CMS, Chiquita LaSure Brooks. Chiquita has been in consulting for quite some time, actually worked at Avalere Health, as did I. We did not work there at the same time. But having people in common like that I think is very helpful to the narrative and getting to know people in town. That’s always been the case. We just do it virtually these days. But it’s definitely been a transition in trying to get to know who’s on first with this new administration as as always.

 

[00:05:00.320] – Tamar Thompson

And it’s a good thing that we’ve had a year to learn how to work through COVID and work in a virtual environment. So I think we’ve got it down to a near science. Not quite, but in here.

 

[00:05:11.930] – Frank Dolan

 Having things down there to a science reminds me, years ago I was working for a pharmaceutical company named Amylin and our head of government affairs is someone that we both know and adore, Bill Franco.

 

[00:05:24.460] – Tamar Thompson

Yes.

 

[00:05:25.180] – Frank Dolan

And I’ll never forget going through the Rayburn Office Building. We’re meeting some folks and having some conversations. And I was perplexed by a couple of things that were were said, but then summarized by the individual as far as their next step, their next action. I’m like, there’s a disconnect here.

 

[00:05:41.890] – Frank Dolan

And I remember him saying to me, Frank, the only certainty in Washington is that politicians vote for votes. I’m like, OK, grasshopper, I get it now.

 

[00:05:56.530] – Frank Dolan

So while I know that there’s not certainty in so many areas, Tamar could you help our audience maybe feel like they’ve got the executive briefing? If you’re in pharma and biotech, how should you be thinking about what’s happening with the administration or what might happen that could affect our industry?

 

[00:06:16.180] – Tamar Thompson

Yeah, sure. Thank you for the question. Listen, and I’m sure you see my dog in the background there. Welcome to Working from home.

 

[00:06:23.970] – Tamar Thompson

So listen, the Biden administration came out strong and said that they have four succinct priorities and those priorities are COVID as it should be, economic recovery, racial inequity, social justice and then climate change. Right. So that’s the agenda for the administration, at least in the first hundred days and perhaps and obviously beyond, because these aren’t issues that are are going to be tackled in that short time period. And so I think for the pharmaceutical community, what that means is that when we look at COVID, Project Warp Speed is something that obviously started under the Trump administration.

 

[00:07:00.850] – Tamar Thompson

But there’s been a lot of positive things that have come out of this relief. We’ve created vaccines in record time. I don’t know how we go back from that. I don’t know how we go back from thinking about how we leverage technology in new and innovative ways to get therapies to patients, to get vaccines to those of us who need them faster and better. And so I think it will be interesting to see how we move forward with the vaccine rollout.

 

[00:07:33.220] – Tamar Thompson

And that’s going to be important. We just had a hearing two days ago to talk to vaccine development companies, manufacturers about the rollout and some of the challenges that were under foot with the initial rollout and how we can do better with that in the future. So I think that’s an important piece to watch. Drug pricing is always on the agenda. It’s never off of the table. Even when people think it’s off the table, it’s still on the table.

 

[00:07:59.650] – Tamar Thompson

So I won’t spend time there yet, but we can certainly dive into that. And what we think about it’s going to happen there further in the policy, maybe kind of context of a conversation. And then when we talk about economic recovery, I think these things are important to us. When we look, I think about my company, when we look at our patients and where their insurance comes from and whether they have it or not. Right. The payer mix for our commercial insurance versus public insurance, who will continue to have commercial insurance and who is going to more heavily rely on Medicaid.

 

[00:08:33.790] – Tamar Thompson

We’re going to need to look at the Biden administration’s made it very clear that they would like to build upon ACA and not not tear it down and and start over. And so I think looking at coverage, benefit, benefit, plan design and how that ties into our industry, these are our customers and how we look at how drugs will be covered in the future. It’s going to be an important part of the narrative for this administration going forward. I don’t know if you’ve seen this, but I saw some ads prompting for Biden care.

 

[00:09:09.730] – Tamar Thompson

So the brand is already being, I guess, reimagined to be Biden care versus Obamacare branding for the ACA. And I thought that to be interesting, that that there’s a rebranding, whether that is at the administration level or with the actual health plans themselves on the exchanges. So I think that’s going to be an important part of the narrative as well. And then when we talk about the social justice, racial equity and if systemic racism there, I think there are two things that affect our community in the pharmaceutical sector.

 

[00:09:45.580] – Tamar Thompson

Right. It’s the the piece of clinical trials and in how do we get more representation in our clinical trials? COVID’s kind of ripped the Band-Aid off of that. And so I think that that conversation is going to continue on that narrative there and how we continue to get black and brown people in greater representation into clinical trials in the future. I think there’s a lot of momentum around that.

 

[00:10:11.890] – Tamar Thompson

And then the other piece of this is just the corporate responsibility and how we go forward as a community. And having that representation in clinical trials means having that representation in the company right to you to understand how to recruit those patients, where to go to get them and how to get them, how to build trust. And so how do you recruit talent into your own organization to ensure that you’re successful, to enhance your bottom line and create innovation in your own company? So I think that those things are kind of building to that narrative.

 

[00:10:43.840] – Tamar Thompson

I got nothing on climate change. It’s very important. But in so far as it relates to my day to day in government affairs, it’s not the pillar of where where my focus is at this point in time. So I would say that of the four pillars of the Biden administration, we are really focusing in my day to day on three of those four pillars.

 

[00:11:07.810] – Frank Dolan

That’s awesome. I mean, there’s a lot to unpack there, so I’m going to cherry pick a few of them. So COVID, you mentioned trust and then you mentioned branding. So maybe we can mesh that together in a way to ask you. With COVID and taking a look at the sentiment analysis of when news organizations in written video or audio form are making references to the pharmaceutical and biotech industry, I think one would argue is the sentiment is way more positive.

 

[00:11:49.610] – Frank Dolan

You know, with the vaccine race and all of the other amazing products to help deal with COVID, even then before. Do you feel like the public or even D.C. is starting to get a glimpse of the innovation story and give the industry some credit and maybe some positive credit for the for the role that we serve in society?

 

[00:12:16.820] – Tamar Thompson

I mean, I think that it’s interesting that you asked about the public versus D.C. Right, like I mean, I don’t think that we’re getting any love in the district from the legislators. I think that the narrative is this is what is anticipated or expected from industry. And so to use the adage, no good deed goes unpunished. This is, this is what is expected of us. Right? We are innovators. We bring the science and we we this is what we do every day.

 

[00:12:47.360] – Tamar Thompson

So I don’t know that we are getting a lot of kind of street cred or respect in D.C. for the fact that the vaccines are here. Just having two days ago, a hearing to talk about what went wrong with vaccine rollout should be indicative of how the Congress is viewing the industry at this time. Right. So I think that if there was a window of goodwill in from a policy perspective and from a legislative perspective in the district, that window is closing in narrowly, if if at all, open.

 

[00:13:24.380] – Tamar Thompson

In the general public I do think it requotes the industry right now more to the Avengers. Right. And kind of saving the world if you’ve seen Avengers in game. But I think that that, too, is a narrow opportunity to an industry really needs to take this moment and take this opportunity to build upon why science and innovation is important to the general community. It’s really hard as a lay person in the community to not understand the value of this until you need it. Right.

 

[00:13:57.030] – Tamar Thompson

So it’s different than your car, your cell phone. Not until you’re sick. Do you understand or appreciate the need for science when you talk about your former employer, Amblin? I remember twice a day, twice a week formulation for Byetta. And so anyone who doesn’t have diabetes may not have had an appreciation for taking a product twice weekly versus every single morning getting up or every night taking that medication and remembering to do so. And I’ll just give an interesting example.

 

[00:14:30.590] – Tamar Thompson

And the reason I bring that up is that my mom recently got her COVID shot in Dallas before the really bad storm happened, but she got it the week before and my mom had to sit in her car for four hours to wait for the vaccine. Yeah. So they, it was a really interesting dynamic, so great idea and concept. The city of Dallas decided to open up the fair park and have a drive through vaccine. And you were called and asked to come in.

 

[00:15:01.610] – Tamar Thompson

And because things didn’t, they weren’t executed as planned, it was a long back up. My mom is a diabetic, so not not anticipating having to sit in her car for four hours, she did not bring her medication along. And so that creates a challenge. So I think until you have to experience those challenges, you don’t really understand the science and innovation. This pandemic has brought that understanding to a greater audience of people.

 

[00:15:29.900] – Tamar Thompson

But if we don’t mobilize and capitalize on that as an industry in America, we have short memories. If it’s not a 20 character tweet, then it’s over. And so I think we have a narrow window and we really need to to move quickly to capitalize on that.

 

[00:15:48.380] – Frank Dolan

Such a great point. And my hope is that we have more organizations that are out there, whether they’re industry level associations and organizations or individual biopharma and medtech companies. There’s something about telling the story that I feel can kind of bridge some of these these gaps. I mean, take any example. Over time, people tend to have an appreciation and can move towards parties they don’t understand often through story.

 

[00:16:22.490] – Tamar Thompson

Yeah.

 

[00:16:23.330] – Frank Dolan

Not just the fact drop, not just a two minute commercial. But, is there some way to leverage all of the different social media and communication channels that we have to start to tell the story of innovation? Because I’m hoping that people are interested in what they saw happen very quickly with the whole pandemic piece, but are we going to continue to to leverage what we have as far as momentum today? But what if we could sustain it by that storytelling? I’m always fascinated by in my old biotech days, having lunch with someone from a totally different part of the company.

 

[00:17:01.170] – Frank Dolan

I’m a commercial person through and through. But what I would have lunch with some of our researchers or even someone from finance the story of what drives them to be a part of this industry and to serve and to see the greater good that they could accomplish through their role in helping that organization bring innovation to market. I think those stories are powerful and could help our perception and our image.

 

[00:17:23.310] – Frank Dolan

I don’t know if you agree with that.

 

[00:17:24.690] – Tamar Thompson

I do. And I would say that I think the narrative of innovation is one that unfortunately isn’t selling well for us. Right. I think the science and the technology is where we really have to focus our energy. Innovation is something that we anticipate and expect every year from Apple. Right. And small improvements in technology. And so when we say innovation, I think that as a country, we’ve gotten to the point where we learn to expect that.

 

[00:17:52.710] – Tamar Thompson

We learn to expect it from from Apple, we learn to expect it from Amazon. And so when we talk about it, I think that it’s diminished in some ways to think that innovation as a term and as relates to pharma is really going to get the the affection that it deserves, if you will, in the in that discussion. So I really think that building upon the science and the technology and understanding what that brings to the overall health care system is something that we’ve got to maybe market.

 

[00:18:27.660] – Tamar Thompson

I hate to use that word because it just sounds like it sounds like lobbying and the kind of a dirty word. But we’ve got to market it differently because I think, listen, Zoom and platforms like this have changed our world and that’s innovative. And the reality is, is a lot of that is free for a lot of people and certainly health care and the science is not. And I and I just don’t want the two to be. I think we need to pay for the science and the innovation to continue to keep the US as the engine for that in the future.

 

[00:19:04.170] – Tamar Thompson

So I worry that using the term innovation has been a bit diluted, but I agree with the concept and I think we need to to message differently to get the point across.

 

[00:19:14.970] – Frank Dolan

So building on a view of doing things differently, a subject that I’d love for you to help us really understand, because there I think is there is there is an awareness and a responsibility of every biotech, pharma and medtech executive that’s a part of our community here and that’s around health equity. Could you round us in what what is this and what is our role as an industry when it comes to health equity, especially with some of our research and pursuit of innovation?

 

[00:19:44.370] – Tamar Thompson

Thank you. What a great question. So for me, the term health equity is just to ensure that I’ll use it more in the sense of diversity and inclusion, because maybe people are familiar with that, with their companies. But when you think about diversity, that’s making sure you have representation of of different sorts at the table. Inclusion means making sure people have a voice and then like the belonging piece, making sure that people feel that they belong there.

 

[00:20:12.810] – Tamar Thompson

If you translate that to health equity, it’s no different. Right? If we think about systemic racism, there’s a direct linkage there between health equity and systemic racism. And and the fact that people don’t have access to resources is the real challenge with health equity. How do we get people in in underserved communities to have the same level of access and resource that those of us who in more privileged communities do? This is yes, it’s largely about color, right?

 

[00:20:43.620] – Tamar Thompson

It’s largely about black and brown communities. But I will say as a black person, I enjoy privilege. I live in a zip code that is highly privileged. That means I have access to great hospitals. It means I have access to great health care. I work for a company that provides really great health insurance to also afford me those things. But there are many people in many communities that don’t have that same level of equity.

 

[00:21:10.620] – Tamar Thompson

And I think for pharma in particular, when I joined the pharmaceutical industry, what I was really struck by is that we often feel that helping people in those underserved communities is about a a co-pay coupon support, financial support. And it’s greater than that, really. So it’s about, I mentioned clinical trials earlier, this is really about making sure that we have representation in clinical trials as we move forward to ensure that black and brown people have the same access to the same level of therapies.

 

[00:21:46.390] – Tamar Thompson

Because and it’s not about representation to for equity of. It’s not something where somebody said, well, if people want to be treated the same, then why should we be differentiating in clinical trials. When the reality is, is that when you look at the states in the rare space, like cystic fibrosis, that’s largely a very homogeneous disease. It’s very it’s very Irish white. And there’s reasons for that. It’s genetic makeup. And so when you look at the people who are diagnosed with largely a white community, but when you compare that to sickle cell, largely black community, because the disease migrates from the sub-Saharan sub Sahara in Africa.

 

[00:22:32.290] – Tamar Thompson

And so the people who carry the trait, my husband included, are need to be treated differently than folks who don’t carry the trait, but also knowing that those people are largely African-American. So we need to understand those variables in all areas of science to make sure that we’re treating right patient right time. It really gets us to that term of precision medicine. We can never get there if we don’t study the appropriate populations of people to understand how the science works and in all people.

 

[00:23:05.830] – Tamar Thompson

So I think that’s the goal with health equity is to make sure that everyone has the same levels and access to health care and that all of those folks are considered when when we’re at the at the lab in in doing science, making sure that we all have access to clinical trials. And there’s a lot of history as to why that hasn’t happened. It’s not just the mistrust in the community. It’s also trying to find those people. It’s getting clinical trials and getting black and brown patients to participate is a challenge as well.

 

[00:23:40.390] – Tamar Thompson

So there’s there’s work to be done on both sides of that aisle.

 

[00:23:45.070] – Frank Dolan

It’s interesting when I think about my understanding of the early stage investment side of of biotech and pharma. And in those early days, there were sometimes investor pressure to do things really, really fast. And I would just hope that I’m just giving you my point of view, Tamar. You do not need to weigh on on this, because you work for a company. So I’m just going to have an independent opinion here instead. I do think that senior executives need to think about controlling their board and their investors to make sure that the resources and the time that’s needed to play a role in solving this disparity is is built in and investors share a little bit more grace and more empathy when it comes to some of these things.

 

[00:24:32.000] – Frank Dolan

So obviously, I’ve I’ve observed and I’ve got ten thousand stories of investor pressure on doing things using old fashioned formulas and timelines to get trials through the through the clinic. So I’ll I’ll I’ll stop in that point and shift to have you react on something different. So HHS we’ve got to nominate.

 

[00:24:57.850] – Tamar Thompson

Yeah, we’ve got a nominee. The nominee went through two hearings, wanted help, wanted Senate Finance, and we’ll see that that confirmation to come through. I think that we have a nominee.

 

[00:25:17.770] – Tamar Thompson

Listen, it’s great that we have diversity in this administration and that we’ve put that forward in in senior roles because representation matters. I think the challenge with the nominee that we have for the health care community and specifically for pharma is when you look at the track record of his experiences as AG in California, and then when you look at his experience and track record as a congressman, it doesn’t tend to lend to a lot of a lot of health care related activity.

 

[00:25:54.430] – Tamar Thompson

And so when you run an agency at the level that he will, then the question is, will he insulate himself with the right people to make sure that he can come up to speed and make good decisions up front? So I think the challenge with this era is that not a lot of health care experience, but running the largest health care agency in the world, if you will, from the standpoint of U.S., definitely the largest agency, largest company. If you look at the government in that standpoint.

 

[00:26:29.750] – Tamar Thompson

And so not having a lot of experience in health care is a problem or a challenge, I’ll say, not a problem, but he seems to be putting people in place that have great health care experience.

 

[00:26:44.540] – Tamar Thompson

We talked about Chiquita. She will be the first African-American woman to run CMS. That is a really big deal. Very exciting news, really strong background in health policy and I think can be a really great asset for the secretary, the assumed secretary. As nomination turns into confirmation, as we assume it will. And then I’m really excited about Liz Fowler joining CMMI. I think Liz has a strong history of being even handed. She is known as the architect of the ACA.

 

[00:27:19.750] – Tamar Thompson

And so I think if the administration really wants to build upon enhancing coverage and repairing the cracks in the ACA, Liz is the person that built this system the first time. And so she’s a great asset and resource to help modify the programs as we move forward. So I think that it’ll be interesting. Do I think a confirmation is inevitable? Absolutely. I think that we’ll be moving forward shortly and the order and the business of the day will move forward.

 

[00:27:52.220] – Tamar Thompson

I do think we have challenges. I’m very grateful that in his hearing, he didn’t just openly attack us and seem seemingly us, meaning the pharmaceutical community, dodged the bullet on some really loaded questions around the pharmaceutical community and instead focused on hospitals and insurance companies, because I think that’s where the focus needs to be. But I don’t think that that gives us a pass by any stretch of the measure. I do think that there will be many, many things that comes out of the secretary’s office and CMS that we’ll still be detrimental and possibly damaging for the pharmaceutical community.

 

[00:28:34.670] – Frank Dolan

Yeah, well, maybe building on the team concept. So while the administration is building out its team, I’d love to talk about the function, the roles of government and federal affairs in biotech, pharma and medtech. And Tamar kind of drawing on your experience, we’re just looking for your wisdom, not a company point of view or anything like this. But when I think about, our company has a relationship with over two hundred mostly biopharma companies that’s out there. And I’m often surprised that maybe I shouldn’t be, on how the government affairs function for earlier stage companies is falls into often one of two categories, and that’s either overlooked or outsourced.

 

[00:29:27.240] – Tamar Thompson

Yeah.

 

[00:29:29.510] – Frank Dolan

Why is that and should it be different?

 

[00:29:32.150] – Tamar Thompson

Yeah, it definitely should be different. I’ll start with the latter and then go to the former. So I mean, it definitely should be different.

 

[00:29:38.450] – Tamar Thompson

And I think that historically when you were bringing to market a small molecule, the reality is, is that that small molecule was probably going to be put on a formulary, which means that you were negotiating with the health plan or a PBM and that the government wasn’t a big part of your overall plan. Right. Like you weren’t you weren’t having to negotiate with the government. And if you were looking to commercialize the product, to bring it to market, then you were likely more concerned about access and getting on formulary tiering.

 

[00:30:13.550] – Tamar Thompson

And so I think that that’s some of the history and the trajectory there as we’ve evolved and we are we’re moving away from kind of a small molecule to biologics to cell and gene therapy. These therapies are now in sites of care that are more government controlled and also treating patient populations where there’s more government payer mix involved from the beginning. And so that now leads us to a place where government affairs and the Linn’s is important to the investor community because the investor wants to now look at how CMS is going to pay for how would Medicaid look at rate.

 

[00:30:56.600] – Tamar Thompson

That’s becoming more and more important. So I do see an uptick in the trend of government affairs and policy and the value there. But you’re absolutely right. Historically, my role was kind of relegated for a large company. Right, that had well-established products on brand and probably after a few hiccups where they realized they needed to hire someone internally, then did they move forward with doing so.

 

[00:31:22.730] – Tamar Thompson

But I am seeing now more and more small companies with one product or getting close to commercialization, starting to bring government affairs and policy support in House, and I think that is very exciting.

 

[00:31:36.590] – Tamar Thompson

There’s a report that Russell Reynolds published in the fall of last year stating government affairs and policy more than a Rolodex.

 

[00:31:45.740] – Tamar Thompson

And so the trend that we’re seeing happen is that government affairs and policy people are no longer just the access to Capitol Hill or to the White House. It’s about building strategy and being there at the table to be a very meaningful player with commercialization, with R&D, with with the teams that really matter. And in fact, I think the lines between market access, government affairs and policy are so blurred that it’s very hard to kind of know who’s on first with what at this juncture in time, because those roles are so intertwined.

 

[00:32:22.190] – Frank Dolan

So what advice would you give our colleagues in these functions that any size company, really, but when they face executives from other departments or even above them, that may not understand the value that their group is bringing to the table, how to better like, a lack of a more sophisticated term, kind of like advertise the value and importance of dysfunction to a company.

 

[00:32:47.540] – Tamar Thompson

Yeah, I mean, listen, the accountability goes both ways, right? Oftentimes I’ve seen in the past government affairs teams that are so focused on what’s happening in D.C. that they’re not sharing the value of the work that they do back to the business.

 

[00:33:03.770] – Tamar Thompson

And so many times the business doesn’t know what’s going on. And so the challenge is, is that most government affairs officials are not brought to the table internally until there is a problem. Right. So your job is to block and tackle when you have the touch down or make the play to help them win the game. And you’re never really brought in until it’s time for the Hail Mary or something of the like. And so I think what government affairs teams can do is look to understand how they can be a valued asset to the business and to the brands and to just be a shameless champion for your own work.

 

[00:33:47.190] – Tamar Thompson

So we send weekly reports out to talk about what’s going on in D.C., how that links to the company and the business and things. People are surprised to know that things like who’s nominated for FDA matters, right? So just updating the organization on the nominees for FDA is going to matter to the company. Right now, we have two candidates that are really great on paper, but maybe one of those candidates over the other is going to have a more detrimental impact on your business.

 

[00:34:20.030] – Tamar Thompson

And so keeping the organization apprized of movement or if there’s a third candidate that emerges in that space, keeping the company apprized of that movement really helps the company get ahead of the curve. And I think that’s where the value of government affairs comes into play.

 

[00:34:36.560] – Tamar Thompson

Creating signature opportunities is hard sometimes, but creating signature opportunities for the business to get ahead of things and to be proactive really helps to move the needle for us to understand the value of government affairs and policy internally as well.

 

[00:34:54.050] – Frank Dolan

That is awesome, awesome insight and I think applicable to so many of us in different roles, trying to make sure that our value proposition is understood by other stakeholders. So, Tamar, before we wrap up and I say thank you. Is there any kind of concluding advice that you want to give or comment that you want to give our audience before we wrap up?

 

[00:35:17.060] – Tamar Thompson

Well, thank you for this platform and opportunity, Frank. It’s always fun to get to hang out with you and chat. I never miss the moment to do that. I would be remiss if I didn’t say we’re in the the last few days of Black History Month. And so it really is for me, and I’ll say just so, so powerful. And and I’m so honored to get the opportunity to sit on a platform like this, just knowing my own journey, knowing where I come from.

 

[00:35:48.390] – Tamar Thompson

And it’s not lost upon me to have opportunities like this, to be that voice of representation for for those in the community who might aspire to have jobs in the pharmaceutical community. I know that for the black and brown community, we’re underrepresented in this space. And so I would encourage folks to reach out to networks to help us to expand that representation. I feel like on the heels of Black History Month, it’s important for me to say that. And and thank you for giving me the opportunity and platform to do so.

 

[00:36:24.440] – Frank Dolan

Well, thank you, Tamar. You you are in fact an inspiration. We really appreciate your time and treasures. And personally, it’s always a signature opportunity to spend time with you. So I just want to thank you so much for for sharing some time with us today.

 

[00:36:39.800] – Tamar Thompson

Thank you. It’s been my pleasure. Have a good one.

 

[00:36:42.670] – Frank Dolan

All right. We’ll see you soon.to

 

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