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Cork pharmaceuticals worker features in national medicines innovation awareness campaign

A Cork pharmaceuticals production operator is one of the faces of a new national campaign highlighting the positive impact science makes on Irish society.

Tomáš Novák’s participation in the ‘Six Degrees of Innovation’ initiative is helping to explain the purpose of new medicines creation.  

The outreach aims to highlight the close connections that exist between a wide variety of workers in Ireland who are creating new treatments and helping bring them to people with medical needs.

The AbbVie employee, who originally hails from Bystrice pod Hostynem in the Czech Republic, is involved in the manufacture of medicines at the company’s Carrigtwohill plant which are subsequently used by patients all over the world.

Tomáš features in a video which tells the story of Munster sailing enthusiast Geoffrey McDonnell, who has been successfully battling blood cancer with the help of his medical team.

The film explains how the development of new treatments helped Geoffrey resume his active lifestyle after blood cancer. For the retired engineer, the availability of innovative medicines meant he achieved remission and a break from the disease.

The video is one of a series created by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA).

AbbVie is among four companies who have backed the educational initiative.

“The job I do comes towards the end of quite a complicated manufacturing process. I operate equipment which helps transform the product into recognisable tablet form. This means I often think about how the medicines we make at Carrigtwohill will hopefully help patients in Ireland and around the world. We know the innovation we create is vital and must be precisely correct,” Tomáš explained.

 “But it’s not often you get to meet people who benefit directly from the work we do. Ireland’s medicines industry creates investment and thousands of jobs. It is only when you hear someone like Geoffrey talk about how new treatments have helped change his life for the better that you fully appreciate why it is great that Ireland is a medicines powerhouse.”

The video featuring Tomáš will be distributed on social media channels in September, which is Blood Cancer Awareness month around the world. Across the planned series of films, a total cast of 26 also includes doctors, patients, scientists and ordinary people whose lives have been touched by innovation. 

With record exports, jobs and tax revenues, the biopharmaceutical industry is a major engine of Irish economic growth. The industry has shown leadership during Covid-19, with vaccines and treatments helping to turn the tide on the disease.

IPHA’s Director of Communications and Advocacy, Bernard Mallee, said:

“In human health, the industry continues to innovate for solutions for unmet medical needs and for the diseases we all know about. Medicines innovation is a lot closer to Irish public than many people may suspect.”

“In that context, it is important that we continue to protect intellectual property as the formula for the invention of new medicines. Innovate For Life, in capturing so cinematically the impact of innovation, is a way for us of us to engage with science for the public good”