Do You Train Your Third Party Pharma Collaborators?

Do You Train Your Third Party Pharma Collaborators?

Do You Train Your Third Party Pharma Collaborators?

For many years, Pharmaceutical companies followed a fully integrated business model, where they handled every aspect of their business, right from R & D to commercialization. However, the marketplace is undergoing ‘huge changes’ according to a whitepaper published by PwC titled, “Pharma 2020”. The 2009 report indicates that by 2020, the traditional business model will not be able to meet the market needs and generate profits. The report predicts that there would be two main business models that will emerge.

  • Federated
  • Fully diversified

What does this mean? It means that pharmaceutical companies will have to work alongside a range of third party service providers such as academic institutions, hospitals and technology providers to companies offering compliance programmes, nutritional advice, stress management, physiotherapy, exercise facilities, health screening and other such services. (Source: Pharma 2020: Challenging business models-Which path will you take? by PwC, 2009)

Many leading companies have already adopted this business model while others are in the process. When dealing with external service providers, companies have many guidelines to check for quality, compliance and best practices. Clauses are written in the contracts and regular audits are conducted to ensure the same. Despite this, compliance breaches could happen.

In an article published in Pharmaceutical Compliance Monitor, Ryan Starkes, Glenn Pomerantz & Nina Gross share that under that the Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA), US authorities found leading multinational pharmaceutical companies violating international bribery laws. Even the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has launched criminal investigations into some of the leading pharmaceutical companies in recent years. While in some cases the parties involved might have knowingly committed a crime, in most cases, it is due to the lack of awareness or not understanding the gravity and seriousness of such breaches by partners. Training can be one of the ways this gap can be reduced.

As a matter of fact, when the Department of Justice conducts inquiries into the violations, “conducting effective training programs” is one of the factors that it takes into account for reduced sentence. It is one of the factors listed in the US Federal Sentencing Guidelines, 2005. Yet not many companies give importance to third party training programs.

Tom Fox, the Principal at Advanced Compliance Solutions shares that training is not given importance when dealing with third party suppliers. He supports this point by sharing information collected during a webinar he hosted. Among the 250 odd members who participated in the webinar, only 16% acknowledged that they conduct third party training (Source: Hiperos).

So, if you do not have regular training programs for your third party providers, you should consider having one right away. The type of training for pharma third party collaborators will vary based on the collaborator and the type of service they provide. Your external stakeholders may be located in a different geographical area and therefore online training is a good option. Here are some advantages of going online with training your third party collaborators.

  1. You can train individuals at all levels to ensure that rules and regulations are understood clearly. You don’t have to limit training to just a select few and expect them to in turn train their own teams. Every individual will have access to the best training content created by the subject matter experts and designed by expert learning designers who can cater to varied learning styles and preferences.
  2. You will incur only one-time development cost while the courses can be rolled out multiple times to different individuals across regions and geographies. It certainly is a cost-effective method if you have third party vendors collaborating from multiple regions of the world.
  3. Modules can be created with interactivities and engaging scenarios to retain learners’ interest and comprehension. Multiple formats of learning such as e-learning, videos, and mobile learning can be deployed. Online learning also gives the flexibility to access learning from multiple devices.
  4. Updating content is cost-effective and it is easy to roll out periodic refresher training programs to ensure the seriousness in adhering to the rules, regulations and best practices is driven across.
  5. Most important of all, it will be easy to track and record user registration and training completions easily. It acts as a valid record to be submitted to regulatory bodies. It also allows you to evaluate the effectiveness of training – to what extent learners have understood the content and steps to be taken for training improvisation, if needed.

Third party collaborators are playing a key role in the pharmaceutical sector. Training third party collaborators is important to mitigate risks and compliance violations. Online learning or e-learning offers a viable and cost-effective training option.

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