What The EU Pharma Industry Can Learn From Insys

Kristin Buske
Written By
Kristin Buske
October 30, 2017

A few weeks ago, as we briefly covered news on Insys Therapeutics, we realized that the ripples of its scandal would be felt across the pond.

And indeed, qordata finds many compliance professionals in the EU pharma industry voicing concerns about the possibility of something like this happening in their own markets.

The fact that many markets in EU allow physicians to not give publishing consent means that transparency vis-à-vis individual spend is limited. In other words, compliance concerns are not entirely unwarranted.

For medical drug and device companies in the EU, the lessons from Insys are obvious:

Lesson#1: Pharma Scandals Never Die. (And they don’t always fade away either): Media woes for Insys Therapeutics have been around since at least 2014, and they haven’t gone away. They resurface, taking new shape according to individual State Laws and (we surmise) motivated by how much Insys is compelled to pay out in damages and settlements.

Where the reputation of some countries for pioneering drug innovation via R&D and profitable collaboration spans over a century, the implications can be far more serious than they were for Insys, which was founded in 2002. Like Insys, EU pharmaceuticals may find themselves revisited by the same compliance oversight via a different legislation.

Lesson#2: Compliance Systems Add Bottom Line Value: In a statement, Insys said it had taken steps to strengthen its compliance program. Although in their case this is corrective action, one does not have to see too far to see how much preventive value such a system could have added too.

Despite their pro-innovation culture, quite a few markets in the EU have an anti-technology bias. Overcoming this bias to explore technologically-friendly transparency-oriented solutions would be an investment they would never regret.

Kristin Buske

About the Author

Dr. Buske earned her PhD in Immunology in 2004 and completed her Post-doctoral research at the German Cancer Research Center in 2008. She has been a key decision-maker in pharmaceutical industry in the region, with important responsibilities in Abbott GmbH & Co.KG, Merz Pharmaceuticals and Teva GmbH. Currently the Head of MSL Excellence at Merck, she joined qordata as the Principal Consultant in 2016. Her work has been instrumental in creating a culture of compliance and improved business performance in the pharmaceutical industry.