COHEN: The pharmaceutical industry deals in products with a profound connection to life and health. Must ethics be assigned a formal role in corporate decision making?
LOUIS: At Genzyme, I'm the chief compliance officer. There's a tension in that role between legality and ethics. Doing what's legal and what's ethical can mean very different things at different times. Ethics is about process. It's hardly ever about right and wrong. It's about choosing between two rights and having processes to help with that.PEREA-HENZE: At Pfizer we make a separation between bioethics and business ethics. When the question involves how you treat people and investigate your subjects, that funnels through the bioethics path. And then you have business ethics, which really involves issues that come up on marketing or other business processes.
PEREA-HENZE: In our case, maybe given the size or complexity of our business, there's always been a traditional separation between the marketing arm and the R&D side. There are two cultures, and you don't want the marketing side to unduly influence the R&D side. We actually have an in-house bioethicist who deals with issues as they come up. And on the other side, we have the lawyers and all the people who deal with that dichotomy between legality and business ethics.
CAPALDI: I wasn't questioning whether there were different sorts of issues, but whether under some circumstances bringing them together might be useful. I understand your concern in not allowing marketing to influence R&D, but one could make a case that R&D ought to influence marketing. If there were communication between those two, marketing could actually do its job better.