Innovation in the Community – Positioning Ireland to Deliver Best Patient Care

February 02, 2024
Innovation in the Community – Positioning Ireland to Deliver Best Patient Care
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The Guaranteed Irish Pharmaceutical Forum 2024 

The Guaranteed Irish Pharmaceutical Forum, sponsored by MSD, took place on Wednesday the 31st of January where insights were shared around the theme of "Innovation in the Community – Positioning Ireland to Deliver Best Patient Care".


This annual event hosted by Guaranteed Irish featured an industry leading line-up within the pharmaceutical sector. The panel discussion featured industry thought leaders Mairead McCaul Managing Director of MSD Ireland, Shane Ryan General Manager Takeda Ireland and Vice-President of IPHA, Emily Kelly, Community Pharmacist at McCauley Pharmacy, Deputy Colm Burke, T.D., and Angela Clayton-Lea, Acting CEO of Cancer Trials Ireland.

Optimism reigned throughout panel discussions, looking to the future with hope and practical actions underway to ensure important improvements in data access and collaboration is prioritised. Mairead McCaul, MD of MSD, spoke about the continued need for collaboration and trust between all stakeholders, similar to what was done during Covid 19 when processes were implemented with speed.


The pharmaceutical industry is a significant employer with up to 40,000 people working in the sector in Ireland – a cornerstone of the Irish economy. While it was noted that Ireland has a good reputation for manufacturing, there is a renewed call to focus on enhancing the Research & Development positioning for Ireland and Europe to prevent a drift towards China and the US. 


Data is Key

The importance of data being at the centre for digital healthcare improvements was discussed. Progress in digital data technology will allow more innovation and access for patients to make informed choices with healthcare professionals. R&D is needed around technology to progress and transfer data to patients. Looking to the future, more wearable devices will feature to capture and share healthcare information.


Shane Ryan commented ‘’ From my perspective if you consider the future trends and the shift of healthcare towards the community coupled with the progression of data, digital and technology. Patients will have greater empowerment and that’s fantastic. Many future medicines will have a digital component – perhaps helping remote monitoring, adherence or effectiveness which will make them compatible for community care in many instances. It's fantastic to be here today talking about this topic,  exchanging views and ideas as to how we can be best collaborate to ensure Ireland can be at the forefront of community healthcare innovation.


Trials and Research

Angela Clayton-Lea spoke about a number of important issues which are a focus for Cancer Trials Ireland (CTI) at present. The goal for the National Cancer strategy is to have 6% of cancer patients taking part in trials in the near future. Study types need to include more data from an all-Ireland perspective, using  CTI as a central hub. Improved data collection processes are needed to reach this target. Angela commented, ‘’Increasing focused collaboration between Pharmaceutical Industry and cancer clinical research for the benefit of patients is our main priority. We hope to make data collection processes a main priority this year.’’


Community Pharmacy

Communication between all healthcare divisions is vital to provide interoperable health systems which will improve information sharing and access for patients. Emily Kelly, community pharmacist said, ‘’We welcome the task force and commitment from Minister Donnelly for expanding the scope of practice of pharmacists within Community pharmacy. To make it operational we need access to sustainable funding for quality service across the state. Shared health records and a reduction in administration of government schemes would enable this to be expedited and the role of the community pharmacy enhanced. At McCauleys we are all about solutions for patient health to live healthier lives. These advances would further what we already do for our patients.



Deputy Colm Burke discussed the need for a coordinated way of working together with hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, and universities. Funding is red taped for companies to invest in services to improve patient care. Deputy Burke stated, “The Pharmaceutical industry is a major contributor to the Irish economy with 9 out of 10 of the top companies with a base in Cork. I am committed to ensuring the much-needed funding can be accessed for R&D between all parties involved including universities, pharmaceutical companies and hospitals as we work together to one patient centric goal.”


Finally, Mairéad McCaul, Managing Director of MSD Ireland Human Health, praised Guaranteed Irish, acknowledging the role the organization plays in promoting Ireland and facilitating networking opportunities for likeminded industry experts and leaders to share ideas and create new key relationships.


Pharmaceutical Forum 2024 Panel
Pharmaceutical Forum 2024 Panel (L/R) Angela Clayton-Lea, Colm Burke, Mairead McCaul, Brid O'Connell, Shane Ryan, and Emily Kelly. 
Brid O'Connell, Guaranteed Irish CEO.
Brid O'Connell, Guaranteed Irish CEO.
Angela Clayton-Lea of Cancer Trials Ireland
Angela Clayton-Lea of Cancer Trials Ireland
Colm Burke TD. Networking
Colm Burke TD. Networking
Pharmaceutical Forum 2024 Networking
Pharmaceutical Forum 2024 Networking


About Guaranteed Irish:

Guaranteed Irish is a national organisation that supports all businesses based in Ireland (indigenous and international firms) support jobs, communities, and provenance. The not-for-profit membership network has been championing businesses based in Ireland since 1974. The iconic Guaranteed Irish symbol is the national symbol for trust and provenance. The licenced mark is awarded to businesses that support jobs, our local communities, and are committed to Irish provenance. Guaranteed Irish supports a network of 2,000+ member businesses, employing 120,000+ people across Ireland, generating an annual combined Irish turnover of over €13bn.

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