Admit it, we’ve all been through GxP training that utilizes the stick. I’m assuming many of you have designed it. It might have looked like this:
Perhaps you have went over the hundred-and-fifty-plus years history of regulatory action, discussing Elixir Sulfanilamide, thalidomide, and a dozen other noteworthy cases that shared the modern regulatory environment.
Or perhaps you just like to show a slide with recent headlines on it.
Let’s put aside all the excellent research about the power of positive messaging etc. Valid stuff but not the point I’m trying to make.
The point I want to make in this post is that the regulatory stick has long been broken. Companies suffer at most a slap on the wrist, fines that are weeks or months of profit. But real repercussions are absent.
J&J avoids all real accountability for knowingly causing cancer.
The list goes on.
Frankly, I think this is really bad for our industry. If the price of being caught is pennies to the dollar earned, it has become merely a cost of doing business.
This erodes trust in the safety of our drug supply. And if the last year hasn’t brought home the importance of that trust, you may be hiding under a rock.
We need more perp walks. We need a real system of deterrence that involves arrests and punishments that match the crimes. We can’t even count on the one form of deterrence left, liability lawsuits because companies are playing shenanigans with bankruptcy laws.
That makes me fundamentally worry about the safety of our drugs and medical devices. And if I someone who has dear friends who work at large and small pharma worry, I must admit I can understand why people start to hold suspicions.