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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Would Greater Diversity and Inclusion Improve Innovation?

We have seen just how important the pharmaceuticals industry is to the global economy and society in recent weeks. The collaboration over the COVID-19 pandemic is an example of the industry at its best. Pharma executives are clearly committed to bringing drugs to market to improve the lives of patients, but the big question is whether the industry is too introspective to be truly innovative?

When the pharma industry lacks diversity within, it underserves patients outside. This is not simply a moral problem, it is a practical one too. A lack of diversity in decision-making leads to lack of insight that could otherwise contribute to improving and saving lives. While the industry is certainly diverse, in terms of nationality and culture at least, there’s no doubt it could be more inclusive.

Part of pharma’s problem is insularity in hiring practices and an over-confidence in its own abilities. Can the industry really meet diverse, new patient and customer needs if it is yet to fully embrace inclusion among its own staff base?

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Stephen Frost is the founder of global diversity and inclusion consultancy Frost Included and co-author of new book Building An Inclusive Organization, published by Kogan Page.
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Stephen Frost
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