Welcome to Trial Trends, a monthly podcast brought to you by 4G Clinical and hosted by Kathleen Greenough, Senior Director of Client Solutions, and Libbi Rickenbacher, Director of Strategy! The show welcomes guests from all over to tackle big ideas, challenge the status quo, and bring fresh perspectives to the rapidly changing world of clinical trials. The show is here to disrupt the old ways of thinking and discover the newest trial trends! Today, in Part 1 of a conversation on the evolving perception of pharma, Libbi Rickenbacher interviews guest Azadeh Nolan. The conversation is timely because of the scrutiny the pharma industry faces from media and social media, and it explores what actually happens behind the scenes of pharma.
Azadeh Nolan is the Executive Director of Clinical Manufacturing and Supply Chain Operations at Aimmune Therapeutics, a Nestle Health Science company. She is truly a clinical supplies pioneer, with nearly twenty years of experience working in the clinical supplies landscape of the pharmaceutical industry. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has been accompanied by exacerbated issues of disinformation and distrust, Azadeh has been a source of information and encouragement to people around her - even some she hardly knows! She has had a front row seat to watch people process different sources of information, and she has learned to know her audience, be relatable, and navigate both the pros and cons of our era of “self-expertise.”
Given her position in a pharma company - even on the operational side of things - Azadeh is in a unique spot. She represents extremes of trust and distrust, and is at the center of controversy over the pharmaceutical industry. While many look at the industry with distrust, Azadeh explains that she saw major pivots due to the COVID-19 pandemic, pivots that represented efforts to work smarter while maintaining high standards of regulation. While Azadeh does not work directly with clinical trials, she has observed the ways in which they run and progress over time, and she explains the importance of firm phases and timelines. Her colleagues running trials can sprint rather than walk under pressure from circumstances like the pandemic, but they can’t and won’t skip any steps. This fact ties into the reality that, in her experience, Azadeh has found pharma leaders to be highly qualified and regulated people who truly care about patients.
While Azadeh notes that it is up to industry leaders to get the right info out there to foster the trust of the general populace, she also advises listeners to be smart consumers, and to be nimble. In the next episode, she will share more about the evolving perception of pharma!