Freda Lewis-Hall - Pfizer

Freda Lewis-Hall--Courtesy of Pfizer

"Innovate the innovative model"

Name: Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall
Title: Chief Medical Officer, Pfizer

Freda Lewis-Hall's reach extends pretty far. For starters, she's the chief medical officer of the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world, leading a division tasked with ensuring the safe and effective use of every product the company makes, from its first clinical trial and beyond.

She's also characterized as a "passionate advocate for empowering patients through health information," and in 2010 the Obama Administration appointed her to the inaugural board of governors for its Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institution, which directs and prioritizes research programs to improve the quality of U.S. healthcare.

"Freda defines what it means to be a leader in today's rapidly changing healthcare industry. She has a genuine and singular passion to improve the lives of patients--a passion that motivates and energizes her colleagues at Pfizer ($PFE) and everyone with whom she interacts," Ian Read, CEO of Pfizer, said in a 2011 statement. "Freda is intensely engaged in critical policy dialog in the interest of better patient outcomes."

Lewis-Hall has also made her mark with numerous other boards and initiatives, including the Institute of Medicine's Forum on Drug Discovery, Development, and Translation and the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health. But her ideas are much more accessible than that; she speaks publicly often, appearing everywhere from TEDMED to the TV show The Doctors.

One of those ideas Lewis-Hall has worked to spread has centered on creating a model for accessing medical solutions that already exist.

"I submit that we need a new model for innovation. That we need to innovate the innovative model. That we need to move from the kind of collaborations that we have today, which are good, which are getting great, but we need to develop a new model that can really use all the assets that we have in the most meaningful way," she said in a 2011 TEDMED talk.

And now Pfizer, under her guidance, is doing its part to share its own assets. Beginning this year, the company will open its data vaults to "qualified researchers," making accessible anonymized patient-level data from both successful and failed trials as long as they've been finished for two years or more. And far from ruling out lending data to potential competitors, Pfizer likes the idea of sharing with those who are willing to do the same.

"Increasing use of new analytical tools and processes to better understand patient outcomes suggests that broadening access to information from clinical trials, including patient-level data, when done responsibly, may benefit medical research and public health," Lewis-Hall said in a statement. "Pfizer's expanded policy is part of a larger and evolving effort by those who create and use clinical data to arrive at a transparent, harmonized process to expand access in ways that protect patient privacy, respect the regulatory process and maintain incentives to conduct new research."

-- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter)

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Freda Lewis-Hall - Pfizer