Compliance — a driving force for influencing public perceptions of the pharma industry?

April 10, 2024

If you have anything to do with the pharma industry, we bet you’ll already know how important compliance is.  

Supporting patients by providing them with the right information and tools to empower health is paramount, there’s no question of that. But it’s interesting to consider the role that compliance can play too. After all, it’s a way of making sure we’re always looking out for patients in an honest and transparent way.  

So, it’s driving positive public perceptions right?  

To some extent. But, despite compliance being necessary and an important pillar of our industry, it’s still sometimes considered to be a ‘box ticking exercise’ and dare we say it...just a bit boring.  

There’s also often a bit of a compliance lockdown. By that, we mean the feeling that we can’t and shouldn’t talk about our industry’s amazing advances and scientific achievements because...well, is it compliant?  

Which can leave the wider public feeling like the pharma world is a little mysterious.  

A little mysterious?

Exactly that. We’ve even heard the pharma industry being described as...Batman!

Yes, none other than that powerful superhero who saves lives, and who is an overall force for good. But also, that same powerful superhero who is a bit of a distanced-masked-mysterious thing, lurking in the shadows. Not to mention, extremely wealthy.  

And maybe it’s this juxtaposition that plays on minds, creating suspicions. Especially when it seems that much happens ‘undercover’.

But even those who are a bit more in the know have concerns. We understand that some HCPs are questioning how much pharma is actually driven by a desire to care for patients for example. Of course, we know this isn’t true. But it’s certainly becoming more obvious that there is a need for pharma to engage more with the public, support transparency where possible, and help right some of these more negative views. Could compliance help us do that?

But how?

Good question. Here are some thoughts from us on that very topic!

Start talking about the good of compliance to people inside and outside the industry.  

  • Explain how it gives the structure needed to do good work and make meaningful advances  
  • Challenge myths like ‘doing nothing is pretty much always compliant’ or ‘the riskier, the better for business’ to highlight how this flawed thinking impacts the people we’re trying to help
  • Talk openly with the public about it to reassure how regulatory standards and ethical practices are prioritised

Make sure ethics drives compliance.

  • Show the public commitment to corporate social responsibility, demonstrating that pharma isn’t profit-driven but cares about doing right
  • Make patient-centricity core to your approach, making sure the good of the patient is the guiding principle right throughout the process of bringing a drug to market  

Think about the 4 principles of medical ethics and apply as much or as many of them as possible.

  • Beneficence: bring benefit to others
  • Autonomy: respect the free will of others
  • Non-maleficence: avoid harm to others
  • Justice: be fair to others  

Can we support you?

We put people at the heart of everything we do, so compliance is incredibly important to us. And since we work with our clients as an extension of their team, this is something that we regularly advise on.  

From time to time, we hear concerns that compliance can be tricky to navigate when engaging with patients. We’re here to tell you that it doesn’t need to be the case.

In fact, patient engagement, partnerships, and co-creation are really what it's all about; making sure we create solutions that are truly beneficial and meaningful.  

This is why involving patients early on is core to our approach and way of working at Cuttsy+Cuttsy, and why we encourage embedding patients within the project process, assuming it’s the right thing for your project of course.  

So, if you want a partner in crime to navigate the compliance storms, let’s talk.  


Beauchamp TL, Childress JF. Principles of biomedical ethics. 5th. New York: Oxford University Press; 2001.

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