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Putting the KAITEKI Principle at the heart of MTPA’s work

Ruth Trzcienski

Doing the right thing isn’t always simple. It requires time to give actions thought, integrity to follow the rules and commitment to see plans all the way through, no matter how long they may take to come to fruition. Doing the right thing may not be easy. But at Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America (MTPA), the imperative choice to do the right thing from a compliance standpoint is a simple one that reflects our organization’s long heritage of corporate responsibility and integrity, and strong commitment to legal and ethical conduct.

With a therapeutic focus on complex diseases, patients facing debilitating conditions are at the core of MTPA’s work. This is recognized and understood throughout all levels of the company. Whether it’s raising awareness among the community about treatment options, funding educational grants for research related to serious diseases, or developing programs that help patients access the treatment they have been prescribed, MTPA’s teams touch several parts of the patient journey.

The gravity of this important responsibility is not lost on the employees at MTPA; as a result, compliance is every person at MTPA’s responsibility. In every project proposal – from market access programs to advocacy outreach campaigns – employees take the initiative to evaluate how they can follow through on their ideas in ways that would uphold the company’s reputation and protect the years of work aimed at addressing unmet patient needs.

To do this, teams at MTPA seek support from Ruth Trzcienski, Senior Compliance Officer for Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma. In her role, she works on ensuring that the company’s comprehensive compliance program is infused into all the different aspects of the business. It is a fact that compliant behavior advances MTPA’s business goals and objectives and reflects MTPA’s long heritage of corporate responsibility and integrity. However, behaving with integrity and in compliance with relevant laws and regulations is also in the best interest of those patients who use MTPA products, and this furthers MTPA’s patient-first philosophy.

In your experience in the pharmaceutical industry, what makes MTPA special?

Commitment to behaving ethically. The fact that my role touches so many different areas of the business and I have so many interactions with every area of the organization demonstrates our company’s commitment to ensuring that we are, to the best of our ability, doing the right thing. The compliance function permeates into all different areas of the company. Employees and business functions seek out feedback from compliance. The role is seen as a partner and I think the level of proactive engagement of my function speaks volumes about the compliance culture of the company and its employees. It shows that our employees desire to do the right thing. The level of thought and employee engagement (from varying levels) that go into our different practices shows we are committed. We have a strong heritage and legacy through our Japanese parent company, having a presence in the pharmaceutical space for over 300 years. We are not a startup. We have a long history, and we want to be here for the long term. Our reputation is tremendously important to us. All of this – our commitment to our reputation, ethics and integrity – stems from our origins — and foundational to this is our KAITEKI model.

What is the KAITEKI model and how does that tie into MTPA’s patient-first philosophy?

KAITEKI in Japanese means “ease” or “comfort.” In my opinion, doing the right thing gives a person the “ease” and “comfort” to sleep well at night. To me, our KAITEKI model is self-actualized corporate responsibility. From a grading standpoint, compliance with law is the minimum standard, compliance with policy is an even higher standard, and integrity and ethics is at an even higher standard. KAITEKI is the realization of all of these principles and more. Now for us, there’s also an added benefit to sleeping in ease and comfort as doing things right at the end of the day ultimately benefits MTPA as an organization and the patients who use our products.

Also when I think of MTPA and I think about ethics and compliance, I like to roll that into the fact that we have been here for a very long time, maybe not in the United States, but our lineage is strong. To continue our growth in the U.S. and elsewhere, it’s imperative that we behave responsibly. It’s necessary, not only in the interest of public trust, but to demonstrate our continued long term commitment to the disease states and ultimately the people, like patients, we are hopeful to affect.

I think the level of proactive engagement of my function speaks volumes about the compliance culture of the company and its employees.

What role does compliance play in MTPA’s mission?

Compliance is integral to everything we do at the company. Non-compliant behavior can have ramifications long-term, both to an organization’s reputation and how it operates. If you’re not thinking about the long-term interests of your company and how your company’s behavior and decisions affect its reputation, then you’re ultimately not thinking about the patients and the groups that treat them. For example, at MTPA we prioritize risk in a way that ultimately views our responsibility to people, whether our employees, customers, patients who use our products, or the public, as first and foremost. Human safety is our highest priority. Trust and doing the right thing upfront are critical. Remediation can be costly and requires resources. I’d rather try to do the right thing from an ethical standpoint that upholds our commitment to integrity and our KAITEKI model from the onset and focus resources on efforts to better address patient needs. When you look at the history of our parent company and you think about the longevity that we have had in the pharmaceutical space as the second oldest pharmaceutical manufacturer, we have a valuable model to uphold, not just for ourselves, but for the people and patients that count on the work we are doing. Realization of our KAITEKI model means we as an organization are seeking to behave at the highest of ethical levels. If we are concerned at that level, and human safety is paramount, our commitment to patients is undeniable.

What is your biggest goal for your work at MTPA?

I strive to be thoughtful, patient and a “kind collaborator” among the people I support. I want to translate the little kindnesses in my day to day moments and interactions with the MTPA team. Long term I want to do the right thing not only as an individual employee but also in my role to sustain the reputation of our company and help it in its pursuit of the impossible.