Partnership Will Support Collaboration on Health Science Research During COVID-19

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Signe Pringle, the assistant secretary for the Maryland Department of Commerce, on a signed partnership between Quebec and Maryland to foster collaboration around health science research during COVID-19 and beyond.

Pharmacy Times® interviewed Signe Pringle, the assistant secretary for the Maryland Department of Commerce, on a signed partnership between Quebec and the state of Maryland to foster economic development in the public health and life science sectors. This is the first partnership of its kind that Quebec has entered into with a standalone US state, and it has the potential to significantly impact the health science and pharmacy industries, according to Pringle.

The discussion included the importance of this partnership with Quebec for economic development in the state of Maryland, the impact of this agreement on the field of pharmacy, and the benefits of collaboration with Quebec on research efforts that can support the state’s ability to address concerns regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic and the opioid epidemic.

“The partnership was an idea that took form prior to COVID-19, but in the wake of the pandemic, the need for partnerships like this have become quite critical actually, particularly in the health care and biotech industries, which will be vital for economic development as we also move to the post-COVID world,” Pringle said.

Pringle noted that the COVID-19 pandemic brought disease research to the forefront and created a greater urgency around health care innovation, sparking the need to collaborate around future efforts in the field.

“So that demand combined with our highly educated workforce, proximity to Washington DC, and [the presence of] federal agencies such as [the National Institutes of Health] and FDA in our state, will play a critical role in Maryland's economic growth moving forward. And promoting the exchange of expertise with our partners will really allow both parties to better be prepared to address the needs of our citizens and improve the public health systems. So, I think the key is really to share the best practices, learn from each other, and develop policies and procedures to quickly be able to respond to these types of pandemics in the future,” Pringle said.

Pringle also discussed the broader economic impact of this partnership on the health science and pharmacy industries throughout the country, the current duration of the agreement, and other expected results of the partnership.