PhRMA Names Medical Device Lobbyist Stephen Ubl Next CEO, President

The pharmaceutical industry's largest trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, announced that Stephen J. Ubl will be the next president and chief executive officer.

The pharmaceutical industry’s largest trade group, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), announced that Stephen J. Ubl will be the next president and chief executive officer.

Current president and CEO John J. Castellani announced earlier this year that he would be retiring at the end of this year. Ubl spent the last 10 years as the president and CEO of the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed), the world’s largest medical technology association.

“Steve’s extensive experience, depth of knowledge and patient-centered approach to advocacy will serve him well in leading the association at a time when our industry is bringing tremendous medical innovation to patients, the health care system and society,” Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. Inc, and chairman of the PhRMA board of directors, said in a statement.

As the head of AdvaMed, Ubl has a track record of working with a broad array of healthcare stakeholders and he was in charge during a period of improved relations between the FDA and the device industry. As president and CEO, he pushed for faster approval times and lobbied to repeal the Affordable Care Act’s 2.3% medical device excise tax. Ubl has also been a board member of the National Health Council and he has appeared on Modern Healthcare’s list of 100 Most Influential People in Healthcare.

Rumors of Ubl’s appointment began circling earlier this week, when Politico reported that he was the expected successor before an official announcement was made.

“This is an exciting time to be joining the biopharmaceutical industry as new medicines are coming to the market that are completely transforming care for patients fighting cancer, heart disease, hepatitis c and other debilitating diseases,” Ubl. “I look forward to working with PhRMA member companies and the broader health care advocacy community to advance public policies that will improve patients’ access to medicines and foster the continued development of new treatments and cures for patients.”

Ubl’s appointment follows the heels of other changes in leadership in a new era of health reform. For instance, in July America’s Health Insurance Plans named Marilyn B. Tavenner, the former CMS administrator who oversaw the troubled launch of HealthCare.gov, as the new president and CEO.