My stomach is flipping. But I cannot stop grinning.

First shared on LinkedIn on November 12, 2020.

You know those moments that make you queasy, yet you cannot wait to get started? That’s been me the past few weeks.

 I am thrilled to announce the formation of:

Galway Group Life Sciences Consulting, LLC: An independent consulting practice dedicated to helping Pharma and Biotech manufacturers support access to the treatments patients need.

COVID has changed many things, but one thing that has not changed is the barriers to accessing quality healthcare. Patients still need help getting the medicines they need, when they need them. Now, more than ever, we should be there for them.

I have spent the past 15 years supporting patients and their healthcare teams.

I’ve handed out clipboards at the front desk and “borrowed” insurance cards for “just a sec” to make copies. I’ve weighed patients, downloaded their glucometers, and scheduled their surgeries. I’ve fought for prior auths, deciphered handwritten encounter forms, and had (occasionally) uncomfortable conversations with physicians about their bump lists.

I’ve sat with families while they waited.

I have also managed the free goods program for a leading Biotech. I’ve built Patient Support Services for three different launch products at two different manufacturers. I understand that patient out of pocket costs—after insurance— often force patients to leave prescriptions unfilled. I know that too many seniors start cutting pills in half when the donut hole looms. There are too many barriers, too many hurdles for patients and their medical teams to leap through after a patient has received a diagnosis, after their healthcare provider has made the best clinical decisions for that patient.

This is the work that needs to be done.

I often joke that I “went over to the dark side” when I started working in Pharma, but the truth is, Pharma (ahem, Biotech) has provided a sense of direction and light. (Yes, my New England brethren, it is okay to cringe). Perhaps California has gotten to me, but it’s true. I am proud to work in this industry, and I see the good that it does.

The people I love most are alive today because of breakthroughs in medicine. My son knows his grandparents because of innovative therapies that did not exist five years ago. Pharma earned its bad rep, no question. But as the world shelters in place, we look to drug manufacturers to discover, make, and deliver life-changing medicines.

Whether it’s educating families on insurance coverage for their child’s chemotherapy, or developing how-to videos on giving yourself an injection at home, my focus is on helping patients access the medications and treatments they need. I knew it was time, so I am making this leap.

While I have neither the talent nor the temperament to be a bench scientist or clinical researcher, I do have one superpower: I know, at the macro- and micro- levels, how Managed Care in America works. A few years back, I made a cynical comment that dollars drive too many decisions in healthcare. A colleague looked me straight in the eye and said, “Maureen, you’re the only one here who’s actually worked in a hospital. Use that.”

That’s why I knew it was time to launch Galway Group Life Sciences Consulting. The name “Galway” is a nod to my Mum, who left a different West Coast (Ireland) to chart a new life in America almost 70 years ago. My parents’ unfailing faith in me seeded the courage to leave a company I loved and set my own course. And I am indebted to my guys at home: Raúl, who has given me everything important in this life we’re building and Joseph, who gave up the TV room so that Mama could move from the kitchen to a real office. He’s only four, but he already understands that I don’t apologize for “having to work”.

I love what I do, and I am so lucky to have found work that feeds my intellect and soul while supporting my family.

Patients need my expertise, and as a consultant, I can help more people than I could working within a manufacturer. I’m excited to take my experience working at Biotech companies, both big and small, and transform that into a service offering that enables patients to access new medicines and therapies.

I look forward to working with many of you again soon.