“I'm motivated by the opportunity to move from more reactive approaches to quality to more preventative approaches. I'm in this business because the products we develop and make improve the lives of very many people and this makes me proud to work in pharmaceuticals.” Ronan Farrell, Head Quality Systems & Quality Management Roche, Switzerland
What is the main reason why pharmaceutical companies should pay special attention to their balance between quality and Efficiency?
In many cases that I've seen, quality and efficiency go well together. Where efficiency drives simplicity, systems and processes then become easier to comply with. Reducing variability and doing the right thing right the first time also help efficiency by taking out the waste of rework and rejects. Quality done well is a key part of driving efficiency. Obviously in our industry, this does not mean taking shortcuts! It's all about doing the right things well and not wasting resources on activities that have been over-complicated or are not required
What are the main setbacks in achieving the right combination of these two?
The main risks are that an efficiency drive in a company could lead to a culture of taking shortcuts and drifting out of compliance. What is needed is a culture of efficiency where quality is a key element and seen as an enabler. Where the source of efficiency is seen as arising from reducing variability, increasing right first time and simplifying activities, quality and efficiency work well together. There are risks to compliance where efficiency is only looked at from a cost perspective and does not also drive improvement in safety, quality, delivery and people engagement.
How do you see the current market situation and your role within?
From my 25 years’ experience in several pharmaceutical companies and at all levels from operator up to global quality head, I am frustrated that we have not solved many of the basic issues that we have. We still have some basic compliance risks such as data integrity. We still have product quality issues with risks of write-offs and recalls. We still do not make the best use of modern technology to support our quality systems and make compliance/quality improvements easier.
This drives and motivates me day-to-day in my role to make a difference for my organization and build a quality culture based on continuous improvement which combines both quality and efficiency. In addition, I'm motivated by the opportunity to move from more reactive approaches to quality to more preventative approaches. Finally, I'm in this business because the products we develop and make improve the lives of very many people and this makes me proud to work in pharmaceuticals.