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Lisa Paley addresses three critical barriers to health care inclusivity

At the 2023 NACDS Annual Meeting, Paley shared how the industry can foster transformative change to healthcare access with initiatives and findings from the Health Inclusivity Index.
Julianne Mobilian
Managing Editor
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Lisa Paley, president, Haleon, North America, addressed a rapt audience about the barriers and initiatives to health care inclusivity during the 2023 NACDS Annual Meeting.

“Ninety years ago we saw pharmacists on every main street in America, helping people improve or maintain their health, and it's still true today,” she said. 

Paley pointed to significant policy changes and innovations driving the needle toward greater means of accessibility and self-care—such as the switch from prescription drugs and devices made available over-the-counter and the increasing digitization of the industry. These evolutions have expanded access and inclusivity to millions—especially during the pandemic—but millions of others still face adequate means of care. She said this is particularly true for Black Americans and other communities of color, who are impacted the most.

“Our goal is to empower 50 million people a year to be more included in health care opportunities by 2025. We're doing this by building brands with purpose, improving health knowledge and understanding, shaping policies, attitudes and beliefs,” she said. Paley identified three critical barriers to health inclusivity:

  1. Health literacy, which helps people attain the knowledge and skills that will empower their self-care;
  2. Accessibility, which improves access to health care for those who are underserved; and 
  3. Bias and prejudice. Industry leaders can overcome bias and prejudice by working with the healthcare system to break down barriers and promote adopting inclusive policies and practices.
Lisa Paley, president, Haleon, North America

To gain a better understanding, Haleon and The Economist partnered together to create the world’s first Health Inclusivity Index. The index compared data from 40 countries across three factors: 

  1. The health of the society
  2. Inclusive healthcare systems 
  3. The people in community empowerment. 

Paley delivered a stark statistic from the index, noting that the U.S. ranked No. 11 out of the 40 countries—despite having the highest expenditure on health, she said. And while the index is a great tool to shine a light on the challenges of the industry, there’s more work to be done, she continued.

“No one product, effort, retailer or manufacturer will change this world alone. But together I believe we can,” she said. “We are at this watershed moment for the industry. It is a new era for consumer healthcare as it come out of the shadows of large lying entities,” she concluded.