MA to appoint new independent chair

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The Board of Medicines Australia is looking for a new chair with Boehringer Ingelheim's Wes Cook deciding to stand down.

The association's Board decided at the second day of its strategic planning meeting in Melbourne to appoint an independent chair who will lead its Board until its next election in October 2019.

In a statement, the association said its governance review in 2016 recommended the Board consider appointing an independent chair.

Mr Cook succeeded the association's last independent chair, Martin Cross.

"The Board and Executive of Medicines Australia would like to acknowledge and thank Wes Cook for his exceptional contributions as Chair. Wes will continue to contribute to the industry agenda as a valued director on the Medicines Australia Board," said the association.

Medicines Australia CEO Elizabeth de Somer said: “Mr Cook’s tireless work in developing robust and constructive relationships with Government helped to secure the long-term stability needed by the industry through the 2017 Strategic Agreement with the Commonwealth and solid PBS reform.

“Operating with depth and experience, Mr Cook has led MA through some important transitions. At its core, the work he has undertaken has been to ensure this industry remains viable and Australians gain access to innovative medicines when they need them.

“I have been working closely with Mr Cook both in my previous role and as the CEO of Medicines Australia. His passion and commitment to the industry and to the patients it serves is second to none and his personal investment in mentoring and supporting me personally has been incredible,” said Ms de Somer.

“I am so incredibly proud to have worked closely alongside the Board, Medicines Australia Executive, Managing Directors and senior policy colleagues from member companies who together have contributed to the development of sound health policy and PBS reform,” said Mr Cook

“It is clear to me that when we approach issues with a shared voice and highly coordinated engagement strategy we deliver real outcomes not only for the industry, but importantly for Australian patients.”

“Ultimately my aim has always been that together, by building an environment that ensures a strong future for our industry, we can continue to improve the lives of millions of Australian patients and their families long into the future,” he added.

Mr Cook will continue in the role for the coming weeks until the announcement of the Independent Chair is made.