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Unsung heroes

May 17, 2012

Earlier this week  I was out with one of the teams I consult to. It’s a department that when you tell people you work in it, they look slightly sorry for you. A conversation killer. It’s called Regulatory. And within the Pharma Industry it has a similar reputation to that which being ‘In accounts’ has elsewhere. (Yes, I relaise the world has moved on and no one is in ‘accounts’ any more, it’s ‘Finance’). The stereotype Regulatory person is female, boring, unimaginative , prudish, quiet and only has a job because someone has to do it.

All medicines have to have licences that have to be applied for in the first place and maintained on an ongoing basis. Or you don’t have a product to sell. Full stop. And this is the domain of a Regs department.

However, the vast majority of people in the Pharma Industry do not really know what Regulatory does, they just know they are there and inform them about licence changes. A kind of admin department that reads the letters from the external Authorities.  How little they realise that this is the basic powerhouse that drives their industry. The department that can make or break a brand. A great Regs department can deliver you a licence with wording others would dream of .  Packaging that excites. Leaflets that motivate and inform patients. They liaise with Manufacturing, with Safety, with R & D ,and with the Authorities. They work to externally enforced deadlines and they have to keep numerous balls in the air at any one time.

Regs do the stuff that has to be done but that everybody else takes for granted. A kind of dowdy,  ‘stay -at-home wife’  to the flashy ‘look -at-me’ Marketing Department .  This particular team that I was out with also review the copy for all the advertising material as well, so they are always full on busy busy busy. Very few unneccessary meetings called by this team (see previous post!) – they haven’t got the time.

And so it came to pass that the team thought they’d have a night out. You know you are out with a team who like to party if every single one of them turns up even though it’s a Tuesday night and loads of them live bloody miles away. In synch with the stereotype it is a heavily oestrogen-dependent team – only three blokes and about 15 women – but that’s the only bit of the stereotype they adhere to. These head down, hard working backroom bandits were out there in full force. Loud and proud. Pre-prandial snifters in one bar, copious wine and food in the resataurant and nightcaps in a third venue. Where I got dowsed in a whole glass of red wine from an overexpressive rendition of Calon Lan. But even that couldn’t put a damper on my enjoyment. The best bit is that it is so great to get a chance to have non work conversations with all these incredibly interesting people. You get snippets of past lives, current frustrations and future hopes and it leaves you wanting to know more about them. But the next morning they will be back at their desks and return to their work persona – head down and hard at it. Which is exactly how they drank last night.

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2 Responses to “Unsung heroes”

  1. Lorna Kyle Says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing them on Britain’s Got Talent next year. I can just see the dance routine..all wearing white coats working at their desks when ….coats come off,desks whisked away,break dancing ( or maybe ‘dad dancing’ that could be the next big thing),loads of hugh packs of tablets/pills hanging overhead….has anyone of them got a dancing dog?……sounds like you’re already fixed for the Welsh choir…and of course the name…..’Regs Dept’.


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