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Why Every Pharmaceutical Company Needs a Hotline

Don’t let employee issues put consumers and your company at risk

Posted by Ann Snook on April 14th, 2021

For pharmaceutical companies, an internal incident such as harassment or theft can have disastrous consequences. Misconduct can indirectly endanger consumers and put your company at risk of a non-compliance penalty.

That’s why every pharmaceutical company needs a hotline. A reporting hotline helps you manage employee concerns and complaints so you can resolve them quickly and use that data to prevent future incidents.

 

Track, manage and prevent incidents with one tool

If you don’t catch it fast enough, an HR or ethics incident can endanger consumers, lead to non-compliance fines or penalties and put your company’s reputation at risk. Case management software helps you keep issues from escalating and prevent them by streamlining the intake and investigation processes. Learn more in our free eBook.

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Protect Consumers

 

In other industries, an internal issue with an employee puts, at worst, other employees and your company at risk. However, misconduct in a pharmaceutical workplace could put the health of consumers in danger.

For example, say Fred is continuously harassed by a coworker because he is transgender. The harassment disrupts his work day and makes it hard for him to concentrate. His broken concentration causes Fred to misread the results of a lab test, increasing the risk of a sub-par drug going to market.

Here’s another scenario. Marie steals pills from her production line to sell them on the black market. As a result, access to the medication can be affected, putting public health at risk.

A hotline helps you catch these incidents faster so you can mitigate risk. Fred could safely report the harassment against him and you could launch an investigation into the behavior before it escalated. A tip from a coworker witness could help you stop Marie’s theft faster.

 

Your hotline can only help you detect and prevent incidents if your employees know how to use it. Print, customize and hang this free poster in common spaces to raise awareness.

 

Prevent Fines and Penalties

 

Every industry must abide by laws and regulations, but compliance is especially important in the pharmaceutical industry. Non-compliance not only puts consumers in danger, but could ruin your company’s reputation with regulators, healthcare providers and the public.

Employee misconduct could lead to fines and penalties for your company if it isn’t dealt with in time.

For instance, say Barry is bullied at work and one incident ends in physical violence. Barry is so shaken and distracted that he signs off on a label that’s missing the drug’s ingredient list. This could lead to an investigation into your company, if not a penalty.

Or, say Glenda doesn’t follow cleaning protocols at her lab station. During an FDA inspection, the inspector notices the lab doesn’t meet cleanliness standards (“Equipment and utensils shall be cleaned, maintained, and, as appropriate for the nature of the drug, sanitized and/or sterilized at appropriate intervals to prevent malfunctions or contamination that would alter the safety, identity, strength, quality, or purity of the drug product”) and issues a warning or a penalty to your company.

With an internal hotline, you can catch these issues early and even prevent them. If you receive a lot of reports of employees not cleaning their work stations properly, for example, you should update your training in that area. If an employee has a history of harassing their coworkers, enroll them in a sensitivity course.

 

RELATED: 5 Ways to Ensure Your Ethics Hotline is Successful

 

Promote a Safe Work Environment

 

Finally, a hotline can help you protect total well-being of your employees. When an employee violates a workplace policy, they could put their coworkers’ physical and/or mental health in danger.

For example, if Tom touches Candace’s bottom as he walks past her in the lab, this isn’t just sexual harassment (which is horrible on its own). Candace might be so surprised that she spills a dangerous chemical, exposing herself and her colleagues to the fumes.

With a hotline, Candace’s colleague Sam, who witnessed Tom’s harassing behavior could report it on Candace’s behalf. The harassment wouldn’t have been allowed to escalate and the safety accident could’ve been avoided. Internal hotlines protect your employees by promoting a safe, fulfilling environment where they can do their work without fear for their well-being.

 

Hotline Implementation Tips

 

If you want your hotline to be effective, you can’t just set it up and forget about it.

First, offer employees multiple reporting methods. Implement a dedicated phone line and email address, online webform and even paper forms that are easy to find and use. More options make it easier to report, increasing your odds of uncovering and preventing issues.

Next, ensure that employees can report confidentially. If possible, offer an anonymous reporting option. Without fear of retaliation from the company or the person they’re reporting, employees are more likely to use the hotline.

Finally, train employees on where to find and how to use each reporting mechanism. Communicate this information throughout the year via emails and posters in common areas. Employees who have forgotten about the hotline won’t use it, so remind them often.

 

RELATED: Should You Allow Anonymous Reporting on Your Whistleblower Hotline?

 

To prevent a domino effect of negative consequences, you need a way to uncover employee misconduct fast and prevent it from happening. A hotline provides valuable insight into workplace issues that will make your company safe internally and for users of your products.


Ann Snook
Ann Snook

Marketing Writer

Ann is a marketing writer at i-Sight Software. She writes about issues related to investigations of fraud, employee misconduct, corporate security, Title IX, ethics & compliance and more.

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