Engaging with our stakeholders is essential to build trust and understanding of the challenges. By truly embedding it into our daily business we are able to jointly develop solutions. Without this interaction, our business would not be possible.
We interact with our stakeholders through a variety of communication channels, such as through corporate websites, annual reports and other publications. In addition, we participate in more formal and structured engagement, such as meetings, forums and other events, and carry out consultations and surveys. For example, by engaging with customers we can use their input to help us understand how to serve patients, their caretakers and physicians best. And this, in turn, is key for us to remain commercially successful.
We have established Group wide guidelines and policies to govern our interactions with key stakeholder groups. Recently, Group Communications has introduced a systematic process to capture stakeholder concerns at the local level and re-channel them to the global list of strategic communication priorities, endorsed by our Corporate Executive Committee as well as our Corporate Sustainability Committee. This helps us incorporate stakeholder interests into our strategic plans as well as focus our communication on topics of most relevance to our stakeholders.
Over the past years, both transparency about relations between companies and a variety of stakeholders has become a topic of increasing interest, as has the amount of information available to those who are interested. We have taken numerous steps towards becoming more transparent, such as an updated policy on clinical trial data, transparency about our relationships to patient groups and making more information accessible about relationships to physicians.
Patients, caregivers and patient organisations
Engaging with patients, caregivers and patient organisations helps us understand what it is like to live with a disease, the challenges facing patients and their families, and the role that diagnostics and treatments play in managing disease. This is invaluable in developing new products and in co-developing education and training materials.
We support a range of patient organisations globally and publish reports on those activities. Our support includes providing access to balanced, accurate and easy-to-understand scientific information about available medicines and services. We also conduct patient support meetings.
The Roche Patient Platform provides information on diseases, clinical studies and results of completed trials that may be of interest to patients, caregivers and physicians. The platform is available in a number of countries. Contents are in local language and written in such a way, that laymen can understand them.
While these interactions are among the most meaningful for our mission, they are also among the most stringently regulated. Our good practice guidelines and position on working with patient groups help us to maintain transparency in all our activities and to respect the independence of patient organisations.
Healthcare professionals provide input in several areas of our business, including:
- the development of product profiles
- clinical development plans
- regulatory filing strategies
- disease awareness plans
- initial treatment guidelines
We maintain high marketing standards while engaging with healthcare professionals so that our medicines and diagnostic products are prescribed and administered correctly and that patients understand the benefits and risks of our products.
We engage with healthcare professionals by:
- gathering real-world product-performance information from clinicians and patients for use internally and in clinical development
- conducting education and development programmes for opinion leaders
- participating in advisory boards with opinion leaders to gather feedback on our development programmes
- developing disease-management programmes with managed-care agencies
- taking part in health-awareness programmes with government departments
- supporting and educating caregivers
The scientific community
Collaboration with universities, foundations, research hospitals and other scientific institutions is essential to the discovery of new medicines and diagnostics. We strongly believe that a diversity of views, cultures and approaches is of utmost importance in fostering creativity, particularly in R&D. Indeed, access to external innovation through collaborations, academic alliances and other partnering activities is a significant means of strengthening and improving innovation at Roche.
To ensure a strong flow of suitable candidate molecules into our development pipeline, we have built a global innovation network of independent research and development centres and maintain partnerships with over 150 organizations worldwide.
This extensive network gives our research activities breadth, diversity and flexibility. Today, fully one-third of our pipeline and of our marketed products originates from external partnerships. We also work closely with the scientific community in the area of emerging research technologies to enhance our efforts in finding new drugs and better diagnostic tests.
For example, we are a member of the Innovative Medicine Initiative, a public-private partnership aiming to improve efficiency of discovery and development of better and safer medicines for patients. And we have established translational medical hubs with academic partners in Singapore, China, the Netherlands, Canada, Switzerland and France.
Our activities include:
- investing in scientific research
- working directly on R&D projects
- sharing expertise and knowledge
- setting up incubators and establishing joint ventures
Our teams responsible for external partnerships include:
We routinely publish position papers on topics of interest to the scientific community. The papers, which are often developed in partnership with and guide our engagement with scientists, include nanotechnology, biodiversity, biobanks and stem cell research.
Payers and health technology assessments agencies
We engage with public and private payers as well as Health Technology Assessment agencies to provide comprehensive clinical and economic evidence that demonstrates how our products can help people. See our position paper assessing the value of Roche products and services.
We employ health economists to work in partnership with local health authorities to address access to medicines and analyse the costs of a product throughout its life.
Health technology assessments have become increasingly sophisticated and widespread, as more and more countries adopt systems to assess the medical and economic value of medicines.
We collaborate with various authorities and policy makers and actively contribute to health technology assessments. Our aim is to sustain medical innovation in order to meet medical need and address the mounting pressure on healthcare budgets.
We engage in regular dialogue with regulatory bodies such as the FDA, EMA, sFDA, during drug development (through specific milestone meetings such as end of phase I, phase II, pre-NDA meetings and Scientific Advice), during NDA (New Drug Application) and MAA (Marketing Authorisation Application) filings and post-approval product related interactions.
As well as these product specific interactions, we also engage in other forms of interactions and dialogue with Regulators through non-product meetings, forums, advisory panel meetings and conferences. We help shape debate on developing effective policies, regulations and regulatory guidelines. For example, we are working closely with regulatory bodies in many countries over approval standards for biosimilars.
Government authorities, Industry bodies and other associations
We believe it is our duty to contribute constructively and fairly to the public debate on a variety of healthcare issues. Our expertise and knowledge enables us to inform and advise regulators and other government authorities on high-priority issues such as:
- research and development of pharmaceuticals
- innovation in healthcare
- access to healthcare, particularly in developing countries
We are convinced that a proactive, transparent and responsible engagement between government officials and the private sector is fundamental to good public governance. Such interaction can make a significant contribution to a healthy democratic process, providing a necessary link between business, policymakers and civil society.
We have established good practice guidelines for our relationships with government officials. We expect any contractor or agency working for or on behalf of Roche to fully abide by these guidelines when engaging with government officials.
Working with associations
We 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.
Roche is represented at a senior level in the following organisations:
Roche also acknowledges the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and recognises and follows the UN Global Compact and the International Organization for Standardization guidance on social responsibility (ISO 26000).
Non-profit organisations, charities and foundations
We have longstanding associations with several non-profit and non-governmental organisations, including funding agencies, that aim to tackle issues such as health inequalities and access to diagnostics and medicines. We work collaboratively and often in partnership with these groups, as jointly developed solutions usually result in informed decisions and solutions that are more likely to succeed.
We work with organisations such as:
- Clinton Foundation HIV/AIDS Initiative
- European Coalition of Positive People
- World Diabetes Foundation
- International Committee of the Red Cross
We contribute to these relationships by providing human resources, technical services, expertise and, occasionally, funding.
Suppliers and other business partners
Our relationships with suppliers are governed by our supplier code of conduct. These guidelines, which conform to international ethical standards, set out the conduct we expect from our suppliers in areas such as:
- economic sustainability
- environmental sustainability
- social responsibility
We also work with suppliers to implement any required improvements in these areas by:
- sharing our expertise and documentation
- auditing and working with them to improve areas of concern
- running workshops and providing training
Traditional and digital media
Media are an important platform for public discussion and dialogue. We maintain a close, transparent relationship with the media representatives to ensure that our voice is also heard on controversial issues and listen to what other stakeholders are saying about important topics.
We also issue press releases about product launches, publish financial results, announce important events and detail our response to important issues.
See the media section for more information.
We actively engage with fund managers, individual investors, analysts and other members of the investment community. We use a variety of communication channels and methods to explain our business model and strategy for creating long-term value. We publish an annual report to communicate with shareholders and other stakeholders, and hold an annual general meeting, which provides a forum for discussion and debate with shareholders.
The growth of socially responsible or sustainable investing has driven demand for communication that explains our business model and corporate responsibility activities. We measure the effectiveness of this communication, and our engagement with socially responsible investors, through inclusion in indices such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and FTSE4Good Index
See the investors section for more information.
We strive to be a strategic partner and positive force in our local communities. We encourage employees to identify local projects where we can make a valuable contribution by volunteering or fundraising. These projects are generally managed locally.
See supporting communities for more information.
Our employees are fundamental to our innovation-drive culture and to our purpose of doing now what patients need next. Employee engagement includes:
- newsletters highlighting topics of interest sent in by employees
- town hall meetings with senior management
- lunch talks and Q&As with senior management and executives
- regular performance reviews to discuss career goals and development opportunities
- global employee surveys
Over a third of our employees are members of work councils or other similar organisations. These bodies provide a structured and transparent avenue for negotiating and engaging with employees.