The primary societal responsibility of the pharmaceutical industry is to discover and develop new medicines and vaccines. The products companies produce are the core of their corporate responsibility effort. They make their unique contribution through successful research and development of new medicines. Innovation drives progress in society and in the case of pharmaceuticals, innovative research not only brings benefits for patients, improving health and quality of life, it also creates wealth and contributes to the economic development of the communities our companies serve. Ireland is a prime example of a country where communities have gained from the presence of a responsible industry.
Going forward this will remain the primary responsibility – confronted with new emerging diseases and increasing microbial resistance to existing medicines, the most important role of the research-based pharmaceutical industry is to create and develop new products.
For many pharmaceutical companies, corporate responsibility is a fully integrated element of their strategies and operations. This implies that, in addition to following a socially responsible business model (consistent with global standards such as health, safety, ethical and environment policies as an example), companies undertake many additional activities related to healthcare, particularly (but not exclusively) in the developing world.
In practice the pharmaceutical industry, through its voluntary initiatives, has not only become a leading corporate responsibility performer in the country’s it operates but also an emerging key player in the area of global health. Its combined contributions (monetary, in-kind donations, expertise, know-how, etc.) make a real difference worldwide for millions of people in need and are comparable in scale with efforts led by international organisations and governments.