It is likely that Kindler, who is responsible for government relations and public policy at Pfizer, will take Barshefsky's
policy suggestions to the US government in hopes of improving access to foreign markets.
"I'm spending a lot of time working with our government relations and public policy group to get that message out in an effective
way," Kindler says. "Pharmaceuticals is a crown jewel of the US economy and one that should be nurtured, not just here in
the United States, but around the world." The recently adopted Australian free trade agreement, he says, "was an example of
a situation in which the US government was advocating to another country the importance of transparency and due process and
a reasonable system of reimbursement and access that, again, is in everybody's interest."
Like most large pharmaceutical companies, Pfizer operates under a corporate integrity agreement imposed by the Office of the
Inspector General (OIG) at HHS as part of a settlement of off-label marketing fraud charges against Warner Lambert before
Pfizer bought the company. The charges are old, but the agreement was closed on Kindler's watch, and he does not seem to chafe
under its restrictions.
"We put in place a very robust compliance program that the OIG has actually complimented us on," Kindler says. "We have very
good relations with them; and I think that's the approach you have to take. At the end of the day, being at odds with people
who regulate us is not in the interest of the company or, ultimately, of the patients that we serve."
If Kindler accommodates OIG , he takes a hard line on people who threaten the integrity of Pfizer's products and supply-chain.
That includes patent and trademark infringers as well as foreign governments whose access policies amount to what he calls
"price controls." But no group comes in for rougher treatment than counterfeiters. Under Kindler's leadership, a team of in-house
investigators—most of them seasoned professionals with years or decades of government law-enforcement experience—tracks illicit
drug manufacturers around the world. To meet the criminals they helped capture, turn to page 52. For a look at technology
solutions, in particular radio frequency identification (RFID) tracking to protect the pharmaceutical supply chain.