Et tu, EU? The European Commission has announced that it wants to see just how good a corporate neighbor pharma really is. The EC wants, says InPharm, “to examine corporate responsibility in the pharmaceutical industry with the aim of developing a series of good practice recommendations.”
What good corporate responsibility would entail seems to boil down to three areas, according to The Pharma Letter: ethics and transparency; access to drugs in Africa; and access to medicines in Europe. Further details, at least from scanning articles about this on the Web, are sketchy at best.
Are our European cousins piling on?
First, let’s define corporate responsibility. One definition says it’s “a voluntary approach that a business enterprise takes to meet or exceed stakeholder expectations by integrating social, ethical, and environmental concerns together with the usual measures of revenue, profit, and legal obligation. In another, it’s a “firm's sense of responsibility towards the community and environment ...
One says voluntary, the other says sense. Neither says obligatory. Are we suggesting that pharma should not be conscious of its moral and ethical obligations? Of course not. What we are suggesting -- and will continue to do so in this blog -- is that industry critics should be mindful of the unintended consequences of this constant drum-beat of criticism. (In the InPharm piece, the EC official does make note of pharma’s enormous economic contribution to the EU.) As we have said again and again, let's focus on solving the problem!
Disruption of Research and Development of innovative medicines is serving no one!