ABPI comms chief takes role at European pharma trade body

Elaine Towell has stepped down as director of media and communications at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry to become media and comms lead at the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

Elaine Towell

Brussels-based trade body the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) represents 36 national associations and 1,900 companies.

As media and comms lead, Elaine Towell (pictured) will split her time between the UK and Brussels and report to Andy Powrie-Smith, the body’s executive director, comms and partnerships.

After seven years at the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), where she worked on “dozens of campaigns and exciting communications challenges”, Towell decided “the time was right for a new challenge”.

She told PRWeek: “EFPIA offers the opportunity to work at European level and be part of a team working on some of the most interesting topics in industry – IP, the access environment – as well industry’s role in Ukraine.”

Changing landscape

In her new role, which she took up last week, Towell leads EFPIA’s media relations strategy and activity to help raise the profile of the trade body and the pharmaceutical industry in Europe.

She has joined EFPIA at a critical time, with the European Commission carrying out a major review of the European Union’s general pharmaceutical legislation.

“Our main focus will be on ensuring that industry’s voice is well represented in the negotiations for the new Pharmaceutical Strategy for Europe,” she said.

“I’ll be working with the National Associations to ensure consistency of messaging across the EU on key topics affecting the industry, support them in their communications efforts, and help us work more closely on joint initiatives.”

Towell has almost 20 years of experience in health comms, in a career that has encompassed roles as senior comms manager, Nuffield Health, and media relations manager, Royal College of Surgeons of England. She joined the ABPI in 2015 as head of media and comms, and became director of media and comms in 2021.

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