Millions of people around the world have an influence on or interest in our business. We believe that active and constructive dialogue with our stakeholders improves how we formulate and implement our business strategy, helps us set priorities and helps us understand the needs of the societies in which we operate. To Roche, stakeholder engagement is a two-way dialogue where both parties can learn from the experience and knowledge of the other.
We keep our stakeholders up-to-date on our actions and opinions through a variety of channels, including our annual report, corporate and local websites, responding to emails, and a host of other publications and events. Our position statements explain our view and strategy on specific issues, while addressing stakeholder concerns, requests and expectations in a clear and transparent way.
Stakeholder feedback is integral to helping the Corporate Sustainability Committee to identify and assess our social, environmental and ethical risks and opportunities. We recognise the need to work in partnership with our stakeholders, regularly seeking their views and taking them into account. Roche, moreover, acknowledges the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (as proposed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie) and recognises and follows the United Nations Global Compact and the international standard ISO 26000 guidance on social responsibility.
Please refer to our Corporate Principles for further information on our commitments.
Details on some of our engagement activities
Our main stakeholder groups are:
Patients seeking new clinical trials to participate in and people wishing to learn from the results of completed trials can access the information on www.roche-trials.com. The trial registry and results database are hosted by a third party to ensure independence. See our Clinical Research position paper. Patients can also access details through the IFPMA clinical trials portal at www.ifpma.org/clinicaltrials or on the US National Institutes of Health’s global registry at www.clinicaltrials.gov.
Patient groups are important partners for Roche. Our position on working with patient groups ensures we are transparent about our activities and to respect the independence of the patient organisation. We support patient organisations by giving them easy access to balanced, accurate and easy-to-understand scientific information about available medicines and services.
Roche provides support to a range of patient groups globally. We require a written agreement between us and patient groups if we provide them with financial support or significant non-financial indirect support.
Please refer to the Patient section of our website for further information.
Working with clinicians and other opinion leaders is important to our business. They provide input into:
- Product profiles, helping to improve their value to payers and other relevant stakeholders
- Clinical development plans
- Our regulatory filing strategy
- Disease awareness plans
- Initial treatment guidelines
Our engagement with healthcare professionals ensures that our marketing standards remain high, that healthcare professionals prescribe and administer our medicines and diagnostic products correctly, and that patients understand the associated benefits and risks.
We engage with them through:
- Medical liaisons, who gather information from clinicians and patients to share internally
- Education and development programmes for opinion leaders
- Clinical research associates, who collect input from the field and feed back into new clinical development
- Advisory boards with opinion leaders for feedback on our development programmes and publication plans
- Disease management programmes with managed care agencies
- Health awareness programmes with government departments
- Support and education for care givers.
The scientific community
We have a series of position papers on topics of interest to the scientific community, which are often developed in partnership with them and guide our engagement. These include:
Our expertise and knowledge make us well placed to inform and advise governments and regulators on topics relating to our business. We recognise, however, that any dialogue between governments and the private sector on public policy, and public health policy in particular, must be honest and transparent. Our Working with Government Officials Guidelines outline how we expect this work to be conducted.
Topics such as research and development of pharmaceuticals, innovation in healthcare, or access to health care are high-priority issues and pharmaceutical companies provide only one part of the solution. Nonetheless, we believe we have a duty to society and our stakeholders to make balanced and constructive contributions to the public debate on this wide range of issues.
To do this, we work closely with relevant global and local government departments, regulatory authorities and non-governmental organisations, to help shape opinion on proposed legal or political changes and make informed contributions to the public debate.
Working with associations
We also work closely with business and industry associations to help ensure the legal, regulatory and political environment in which we operate represents a variety of viewpoints. All our public affairs activities comply with applicable laws and are open and transparent.
Roche is represented at a senior level in the following organisations:
We engage with payers throughout a product’s lifecycle. This includes providing guidance on the value of our products and services. See our position paper Assessing the Value of Roche Products and Services for more information.
We also employ experienced health economists that work in partnership with local health authorities to address their specific needs regarding access to medicines and to analyse the full costs of a product throughout its life.
High levels of customer satisfaction ensure Roche remains commercially successful. By engaging with customers, we are able to use their input to develop local and regional action plans that build on our strengths and identify potential weaknesses.
We aim to communicate clearly and regularly with our employees globally to keep them abreast of developments within the company and the industry. Employee communications include:
- Intranet and internal newsletters, highlighting topics of interest sent in by employees
- Town hall meetings with senior management
- Lunch talks at our headquarters in Basel, where employees can meet an ask questions of senior managers and members of the Corporate Executive Committee, either in person or via live webcasts
- Regular performance reviews, encouraging them to discuss career goals and development opportunities.
- Global employee surveys
Works councils or other similar organisations, of which over a third of our employees are members, provide a structured and transparent avenue through which to negotiate and engage with employees.
Fund managers, individual investors, analysts and socially responsible investment groups make up the investment community with which we engage. Roche is a publicly listed company and our shareholders are a key stakeholder group. We use a variety of channels, including results presentations, roadshows, broker conferences, science events, investor updates, site visits and management roundtables to engage with them to explain our business model and our strategy for long-term value creation. Our annual report and annual general meeting (AGM) provide an important forum for discussion and debate and lead our engagement work with shareholders.
Socially responsible investors (SRI) are also an active and influential community that promotes responsibility within business. Open and regular dialogue with the SRI community is necessary to explain our business model and corporate responsibility activities. We measure the success of our engagement through inclusion in indices such as:
For further information, see the Investors section of our website.
Our relations with suppliers and service providers are governed by our Supplier Code of Conduct. They conform to internationally recognised standards of ethical business practice. These guidelines formally set out the conduct we expect of the companies from which we purchase products and services, in areas such as:
- Economic sustainability
- Environmental sustainability
- Social responsibility
Most manufacturers of components or products in whose development Roche was or is involved are already committed to meeting Roche standards.
We also work with suppliers to implement any required improvements by:
- Sharing our expertise and documentation
- Auditing and working with them to improve areas of concern
- Running workshops
- Providing training.
Successful engagement with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) is hugely important. Their campaigns can be very influential with other stakeholders, so it is important for Roche to be in regular dialogue to maintain effective and positive relationships.
We have longstanding collaborative relationships with a number of NGOs, which aim to tackle issues such as health inequalities and access to our products and services. We work in a collaborative manner - often in partnership - as jointly developing a solution results in better, more informed decisions and solutions that are more likely to succeed. As a result, we work in public-private partnerships with organisations such as:
We make a contribution through these relationships by providing human resources, technical services, expertise and occasionally funding.
Roche strives to make a difference in our local communities. We encourage employees to identify local projects where we can make a valuable contribution through volunteering or fundraising. These projects are generally managed locally. See the Society section for more information.
The media has a huge influence on public opinion, and can enhance or damage our reputation in equal measure. It’s important to keep a close and transparent relationship with the media to ensure we are not portrayed incorrectly on controversial issues.
We use press releases to provide information about our product launches, publish financial results, announce important events and detail our response to significant issues. See the media section for more information.
These organisations and individuals represent a broad range of interests, needs and views, many of which are complex. We engage and communicate about these issues in a manner appropriate for each group.