How Ann MacDougall prepares for board meetings.

Author:Hall, April
Position:Survival Guide

The board of Opiant Pharmaceuticals has three to four in-person meetings a year, but there are also monthly calls and "out of schedule" meetings on particular topics given the opioid crisis, says Ann MacDougall, who chairs the compensation committee and serves on the audit committee.

The NARCAN nasal spray, made by Opiant Pharmaceuticals, reverses opioid overdoses by competing against what opioids do to the brain. Thousands of people have been saved by the medication (resulting In 9-11 % fewer overdose deaths in the U.S. between 1999 and 2014, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research), but it does not come without controversy.

Local law enforcement argued about making the drug available; many states have been making the medication available over-the-counter; and federal panels have convened to try to come up with a solution to the opioid crisis facing the country.

While MacDougall keeps on top of everything that's happening, she tries to stay focused on the company's next program, new trials and successful governance to keep the organization moving forward.

"We discuss a lot of organizational and financial matters rather than what is going on (in the news)," she says. "(The opioid epidemic) is huge in the public eye so the hard thing we need to do is keep the pace. Most of the board business and focus is on the essential business of organization, ensuring proper governance, the right financing, the right partnerships."

As a board member on a leading pharmaceutical company in the fight against opioid addiction and overdoses, Ann MacDougall constantly updates her knowledge.

Recently when MacDougall saw a photo essay on the opioid crisis in Time magazine, she forwarded it to the board and executives. And when Opiant CEO Dr. Roger Crystal appears in front of a government panel or on a national news program, the board tunes in. "But that's not just for an upcoming board meeting, that's on an ongoing basis," she says.

After two years on the board she's no longer "a rank beginner," in the specialty pharma space, but she says she is grateful to have Phil Skolnik, the company's chief scientific officer to consult as needed...

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