Proactive training benefits long-range goals when part of corporate culture
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Roanoke, VA (Oct. 19, 2009) –When compliance and ethics education becomes fully integrated into corporate culture, companies can expect to see long-term strategic benefits, says Michelle O’Connor, CMR Institute’s SVP for Learning Strategy and Innovation
“Compliance is a reflection of an organization’s culture,” says O’Connor in a recent interview in the September issue of Pharmaceutical Commerce Magazine. “In any regulated industry, it’s easier to be reactive rather than proactive. But the challenge is to take a long-range and strategic view of regulatory compliance that can benefit overall corporate strategy.”
Two factors are critical to this endeavor, says O’Conner: buy-in from the top down on the value of compliance, and an independent, non-biased education program that not only outlines the rules but explains the rationale behind them.
“When you understand the rationale for behaving ethically, it’s easier to understand why it’s in your best interests to comply,” says O’Connor, citing that accountability at the C-level is paramount. “The government takes a broader view of accountability when it comes to compliance. It’s not just the rep who’s targeted.”
But it is the rep who needs a hands-on knowledge of compliance and ethics and how this knowledge can be applied to further improve patient healthcare, she says. At CMR Institute, an independent, not-for-profit organization that offers unbranded education to pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotech professionals, more than a dozen learning modules cover or are related to the subject. With pending state and federal legislation looking to further regulate the physician/representative relationship, the need for up-to-date, regulatory and compliance education is growing.
“We believe that education, NOT more regulation, is the straightforward and less costly answer to many regulatory and compliance issues,” says O’Connor, who points out that of the 43 CMRI programs approved by the District of Columbia’s Board of Pharmacy to satisfy SafeRx continuing education requirements, many focus on education about ethical behavior, regulation, and compliance including Pharmaceutical Ethics and Compliance, Business Ethics in the Pharmaceutical Industry, and Medical Ethics.
“Our courses teach that being ethical and behaving ethically is more than just acting lawfully,” says O’Connor. “It involves understanding the reasons for ethical and regulatory compliance and the range of activities it can affect, from research and development to sales and marketing.” CMRI courses delve into the detail of current U.S. laws as well as guidelines developed by professional and industry groups to promote ethical and compliant behavior.
As regulatory and compliance issues are becoming more prevalent, O’Connor says that ignoring them will only get more expensive. “The effect of non-compliance costs the biopharm industry more than just financial penalties,” she says. “It erodes public trust and confidence. In the long run, this can cost more than a single infraction—it can tarnish the reputation of the industry and life-saving treatments.”
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CMR Institute is the leading independent provider of non-branded education for the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries and has educated more than 150,000 professionals. Founded in 1966 by physicians in response for a need to increase therapeutic knowledge through scientific education, CMR Institute offers the only nationally recognized certifications for representatives and managers, and its respected programs have defined educational standards. Its expert content is developed and updated by leading industry experts and distinguished thought leaders from prestigious universities and academic medical centers, and includes key education on science, disease management, ethics, and leadership. CMR Institute’s not-for-profit status allows it to continually invest its resources in its library of education to realize its mission, which is to advance knowledge to enhance healthcare.