FPM launches election for President

Posted on: Wednesday 3 March 2021
Author: FPM

This election is now closed

This page was original published in March 2021

Voting for the election of the post of FPM President 2021

The candidates are:

  • Dr Philip Ambery
  • Dr Flic Gabbay
  • Prof Penny Ward

Candidate statements are published below (in alphabetical order).

Voting is open only to those awarded Fellowship (FFPM) or Membership (MFPM) of FPM. Honorary Fellows or Members, and Associate or Affiliate members are not eligible to vote. Those eligible to vote will have received emailed instruction on how to do so at 15:00 on Wednesday 3 March 2021. Please contact us at fpm@fpm.org.uk if you are eligible to vote but didn’t receive this email.

The statements have been prepared by the candidates and do not reflect official FPM views or the current status of FPM.

Dr Philip Ambery

I’ve been passionate about the practice of pharmaceutical medicine since I first joined industry in 2001, it soon became apparent to me that what I was told was the “dark side”, was nothing of the sort, with peer mentorship and support like nothing I had ever experienced before. As I grew through roles in medical affairs, then early and late clinical development in GSK, I was privileged to be the 100th trainee in higher medical training and experienced first hand the commitment of the faculty to excellence in our speciality. Then as my career developed I became a GMC speciality adviser for pharmaceutical medicine and took on the role of a revalidation appraiser for the faculty. Now, having completed nearly 7 years in AstraZeneca, the past 2.5 years in Sweden, I’ve developed my view not only of practice in the UK, but also internationally.

When global pandemics allow, I also maintain strong links with Cambridge University Hospitals trust where I continue to practice as an acute medicine physician and mentor PhD students, and have now in addition taken on a role as a GMC associate supporting the

My holistic view of training in the UK and experience of the practise of pharmaceutical medicine both inside and outside the UK will stand me in good stead for a 3 year term as president, particularly with respect to advancing the mission of the faculty to develop and maintain competence in the speciality. I will champion the development of young physicians who enter our speciality from outside industry, and ensure visibility of pharmaceutical medicine as a career option. As well as developing opportunities for future entrants to the speciality it’s equally important to enhance the profile of our industry and the massive contribution it makes to the UK and Global economy. The COVID pandemic has given us an unrivalled opportunity to engage with the public around the science of development of new medicines and I will embrace this, and the UK must forge new partnerships in science and innovation on the global stage post Brexit.

Over the past few years I’ve been living and working from Sweden. This has given me an inkling as to what it’s like to experience the Faculty through an international lens. What this lens has brought into focus is that there remains a huge untapped opportunity to champion excellence in pharmaceutical medical practice outside the UK. By leading this the Faculty could enhance the ability of medical graduates from outside the UK to work in our industry, and support excellence in drug development across the world.

I hope you will support my election as president to support growth and development of the faculty during the next 3 years. By focussing on excellence in practice and development of new entrants to the faculty, and supporting those who may not have trained in the UK or who now practice outside the UK, I hope to significantly grow the presence and standing of our faculty as the key resource to partner in the development of new medicines and support our members and fellows as they develop through their careers.

Dr Philip Ambery

Dr Flic Gabbay

Pharmaceutical Medicine is a vital speciality for the health of the public. As Chair of the Founding Committee of FPM, my belief in its critical role was strong and has progressively grown. During my role as Vice President I have been involved in various projects on behalf of FPM including the COVID 19 working party, representing FPM on the AMRoC sepsis working part, the clinical trials resilience group and the equality and diversity working party. I now stand for election as President of the FPM to drive its rapidly evolving role forward.

My two priorities would be
1) Provide science support and medical education
The specialty has as its mission “to advance the science and practice of pharmaceutical medicine through empowering its members to set the highest scientific and ethical standards to help unlock the full potential of new medicines and make sure they are as beneficial and safe as possible for patients”.

The Faculty supports its members to help them play an important role in healthcare and to develop, utilise and disseminate their skills and knowledge across, not only pharmaceutical physicians, but also all medical specialities and disciplines. All pharmaceutical physicians should meet high standards and should be leading standards in other specialities. Through its membership FPM should be on the cutting edge of the development of scientific wisdom. In the COVID 19 pandemic, the Faculty has taken a leading role in therapeutics, preventives and diagnostics in respiratory infection and I would like to see this continue to be one of our priorities. I would also like us to support greater investment in women’s health. We should seek out the world-renowned experts amongst our membership and involve them in FPM projects, thus encouraging new members to join in order to learn from role models and mentors. In this regard I would like to upgrade the role of the Head of the Policy and Communications group and support the reforms being brought in by the current Chair.

In training and education the Faculty offers the new curriculum, the digitising of the examinations and training from Boyd consultants both on line. Investment in this area could allow us to extend short courses well beyond pharmaceutical medicine and the UK. A review of funding of these activities together with the new Education Manager, could allow these projects to become profitable and offer an excellent service to support our members, who may get access free. The initiatives for collaborative training programmes to support university and healthcare translational projects should be further supported with the relationships with Brighton, Liverpool, Oxford maturing and building on the more established relationships with Kings College, NIHR, the NHS and the International collaborations, including IFAPP. In this regard I would like to see the Head of the Education and Standards Committee be given additional support and a careful review of succession planning in both the Education and Examinations conducted to ensure this part of the Faculty can be grown and be sustainable.

2) Robustness of growth, governance and financial stability
Encouraging new Members is essential. The project to support this exercise is critical to the survival of the Faculty. There are many aspects to this project, for example understanding where pharmaceutical physicians work and what their needs are, re-introducing Fellowship by distinction and encouraging those who have left the Faculty to return and explain why they left. Careful review of resource is needed for this project and its continuation as the Registrar role switches is something I will be keen to ensure happens.

Revalidation brings in a substantial revenue into the Faculty and remains at a very high standard. But it must keep pace with other FPM initiatives to make these activities more efficient and user friendly. Within the strict constraints of the GMC these need to be monitored. Successional planning is important due to the financial implications of the activity.

The CEO has grown her team both in responsibility and number and obtained support for the new CRM and MIS system. The roles and integration of employees and volunteer members is now well advanced. ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), such as the equity and diversity project and other ethics activities would be part of my ambitions for sustainability. I intend to give more support to the FPM employee team and the volunteer officers and support fund raising by re-establishing relationships with big pharma and other potential funding groups.

Flic Gabbay
Dr Flic Gabbay

Prof Penelope Ward

I joined the industry in 1991 after working in the NHS for several years in general practice and hospital based obstetrics and gynaecology. My career has spanned every aspect of pharmaceutical medicine, from early phase translational research to over-the-counter medicines, diagnostics and devices. Most recently, this experience from Upjohn, Hoffman La Roche, GSK and UCB has been put to good use by several small biotech companies and investors via my consulting practice.

For the past year I have been actively involved in the work of the FPM via being Chair of the Education and Standards Committee and of the Expert Group on Governmental and Healthcare Policy relevant to Pharmaceutical Medicine (incl. drug safety and regulatory). I have also undertaken revalidation and am a revalidation appraiser supporting physicians working in a variety of settings. The experience gained has persuaded me that the FPM has a significant role to play supporting physicians and non-physician scientists entering the pharmaceutical industry to become proficient practitioners in the field of pharmaceutical medicine (in its broadest sense) and in supporting them throughout their career. This year, the FPM has extended our outreach via a series of on line webinars and blogs which have drawn international attention to our activities. We have also embraced new ways of working with the adoption (at last!) of on line appraisal meetings and ARCPs making these required meetings easier to fit into a busy working day. These changes will likely become permanent features. This last year we moved our examinations on line. This was broadly welcomed and saved time and money for candidates no longer needing to come to London for the exam. Now we need to consider how and when we will be able to increase their frequency, enabling candidates to blend these across the breadth of their training timeline, as well as offering opportunity to candidates sitting these overseas. I believe that FPM can and should advance further and with ambition to become the foremost, internationally recognized leader in pharmaceutical medical education and training, the ‘go to’ place for everyone seeking to enhance the competence and skillset of their translational medicine, clinical development and medical affairs workforce wherever they practice. To that aim, I will seek to extend our collaborations to establish an international specialty training program recognised and accepted by regulators across the globe. This cannot be done without increasing the profile and visibility of the FPM, in the UK and overseas, among physicians and non-physician scientists and among the lay public. This leads to my second objective: to define a role within our Faculty for our non-physician scientific colleagues. By including their perspectives and additional skills, the Faculty will be able to grow in influence, provide a home for colleagues working alongside our physician members and consider the move to becoming an independent Royal College, in our own right, by 2024. These actions will also serve to increase respect for our community and our objective to advance the science and practise of pharmaceutical medicine for the benefit of the public. Now those are objectives worth working towards and to which I will devote my energies for the three years of my tenure of the post, should I be fortunate enough to succeed.

Penelope Ward
Prof Penelope Ward

Election schedule

Wednesday 3 March 2021 – Voting opens

Wednesday 24 March 2021 – Voting closes

Thursday 25 March 2021 – Counting and ratification of votes

The Registrar will contact each candidate to inform them of the result on the afternoon of 25 March 2021 and will ensure that they understand that the results are embargoed.

The Registrar will announce the new President at 09:00 hours on  26 March 2021.