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Pfizer's Jeffrey Kindler Becomes PhRMA Board Chairman; Christopher Viehbacher, John Lechleiter Assume New Posts

WASHINGTON, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Jeffrey B. Kindler, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer, was elected board chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) today at the trade association's annual meeting. Also elected were sanofi-aventis Chief Executive Officer Christopher Viehbacher as chairman-elect of the PhRMA Board of Directors, and John C. Lechleiter, Ph.D., Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Eli Lilly and Company, as board treasurer.

Mr. Kindler succeeds David R. Brennan, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of AstraZeneca, as PhRMA's chairman.

"Great leadership requires patience, decisiveness, intelligence, execution and compassion. David encompasses all of these qualities and much more. He is a tireless advocate for patient-centered policies here in the U.S. and abroad and has set the bar high for his peers," said PhRMA President and Chief Executive Officer Billy Tauzin. "During David's tenure as our chairman, PhRMA broadened its scope by welcoming several smaller biopharmaceutical companies as members, we continued to highlight the critical work being done to develop new innovative treatments for orphan and rare diseases, and we reaffirmed our commitment to strengthening the U.S. health care system by supporting comprehensive health care reform."

"I am proud of the accomplishments of PhRMA over the past year. During a year of many changes and uncertainties, PhRMA and its member companies worked diligently to address the health care challenges facing the United States while remaining committed to our goal of promoting solutions for patients," said David Brennan, Chief Executive Officer of AstraZeneca. "As we moved forward in promoting sustainable healthcare reform, our work helped change the direction of the debate to one that will lead to improved American health care."

Mr. Kindler was named Pfizer's chief executive officer in July 2006 and has served as chairman of the company's board since December 2006. He joined Pfizer in 2002 as executive vice president and general counsel, with responsibility for Pfizer's legal division.  He was named vice chairman in 2005, joining the company's four-person executive committee and assuming responsibility for Pfizer's corporate affairs division.

Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Kindler served as vice president of litigation and legal policy at General Electric. He also served as executive vice president and general counsel at McDonald's Corporation before moving into line management at McDonald's Corporation as president of partner brands. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Mr. Kindler began his legal career as an attorney at the Federal Communications Commission. He later served as law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.

"I am excited to lead this organization during such a dynamic time for our nation's healthcare system," Kindler said. "The biopharmaceutical industry can be a catalyst for change by creating a future with good jobs and good health in the U.S. Our member companies employ many of the world's best scientific minds to challenge the most feared diseases of our time. By advancing wellness, treatments, prevention, and cures, our member companies play a vital role in this country's healthcare system. This role brings us many responsibilities. That's just one reason why we are actively working to help identify solutions in the U.S. health care reform debates. We aim to be a leading voice for improving everyone's ability to have reliable and affordable health care."

"Never before have I been more proud of an industry that not only helped save my life, but has touched the lives of millions of other patients battling disease around the world," said Tauzin. "I also have been heartened to see the enormous amount of support – through donated medical supplies and medicines – that America's biopharmaceutical research companies have given to communities in America and other countries suffering from devastating natural disasters."

Tauzin added, "As I prepare to hand over the reigns to PhRMA's next leader, I want to encourage the millions of employees who are employed either directly or indirectly by the biopharmaceutical sector to continue to reach out to others – particularly their elected officials – and talk openly and honestly about the critical need for policies that support our industry, one of the most research-intensive industries in the U.S. After all, patient-centered policies that encourage medical innovation support American jobs."

Mr. Viehbacher was named chief executive officer of sanofi-aventis in December 2008. He serves on the sanofi-aventis board and Strategy Committee. After beginning his career at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, between 1988 and 2008 he acquired broad international experience in Europe, the U.S. and Canada in various roles with GlaxoSmithKline. In his last position, Mr. Viehbacher was President, Pharmaceutical Operations North America, a member of the board and Co-Chairman of the Portfolio Management Board.

"Reforming our health system to provide quality care to more Americans remains a top priority on the national agenda," said Viehbacher. "As an industry, we need to continue putting patients first by delivering innovative, difference-making medicines that address unmet medical needs. Given the increased prevalence of chronic disease, we as an industry need to work with other healthcare stakeholders to encourage the prevention and better management of chronic disease which also gives rise to 75 percent of our healthcare spend. I look forward to working with my PhRMA colleagues and with others across the health system to advance policies that recognize the strategic importance of our industry both in terms of better health for patients, but also in terms of jobs."

Dr. Lechleiter has served as chief executive officer of Eli Lilly and Company since April 2008 and as chairman since January 2009. He became president and chief operating officer of Lilly in 2005, when he also joined the company's board. His career at Lilly began in 1979 as a senior organic chemist in process research and development, a department he later led in 1982. He was named executive vice president for pharmaceutical products and corporate development in 2001, and in 2004, he became Lilly's executive vice president for pharmaceutical operations.

From 1984 to 1998, Dr. Lechleiter rose steadily within the company, serving, among other positions, as director of pharmaceutical product development for the Lilly Research Centre Limited in Windlesham, England; manager of research and development projects for Europe; vice president for regulatory affairs; and senior vice president of pharmaceutical products. A graduate of Xavier University, he subsequently was awarded master's and doctorate degrees in organic chemistry from Harvard University and an honorary doctorate of business administration from Marian University in Indianapolis. Dr. Lechleiter joined the PhRMA board in February 2008.

"I'm very pleased to join PhRMA's leadership team," said Lechleiter. "Our trade association will continue to play a constructive role in the pursuit of policies that will help ensure access to our medicines and create an environment that will help generate future medical innovation for the benefit of patients in the United States and around the world."

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $45.8 billion in 2009 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.3 billion in 2009.

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
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