On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a global pandemic. To mark the one-year anniversary of that day, Amgen CEO Bob Bradway sent a note to the company’s more than 23,000 employees worldwide offering his reflections on the 12 months since.
“The facts of the pandemic – 2.6 million deaths worldwide, to give the most difficult example – can be overwhelming,” he wrote. “Beyond the numbers, though, I know each of us has been touched by the pandemic in deeply personal ways. Elderly parents who have fallen ill. Children who haven’t been able to go to school. Spouses who have lost their jobs. It has been an incredibly hard time and, while I am confident better days are coming, it’s important to acknowledge that people are still hurting, frustrated, and just tired of this whole thing.”
Bradway noted that, “It is the tough times that test a company’s culture and values,” adding, “The commitment you have shown to patients, our business, and each other has been nothing short of extraordinary. Amgen was strong heading into the pandemic, we are strong today, and we will be strong in the future. You are that strength.”
Bradway said that Amgen is “a learning organization and we have learned a great deal over the past year – about our company and ourselves.”
One of the lessons learned, he said, is that “the world needs more innovation, not less, and we have proven ourselves ready, willing, and able to provide it. We have continued our proud tradition of serving ‘every patient, every time.’ We have not one, but two medicines that have earned Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration during this challenging time.”
Above all, Bradway said, we have learned that the human spirit is resilient.
“COVID-19 hit us hard,” he said. “It knocked us down a few times, but we have always gotten back up. We are still standing. As I write this note, more than 300 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered around the world – a remarkable achievement for our industry. The end of the pandemic may not yet be near, but it is within sight. We will tell our children and grandchildren what it was like to live through this time. I hope at least part of the story you tell will be that you worked with people and for a company that helped make a difference.”
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