A Wealth of Experience
Sitting Down With… Richard M. Johnson, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Parenteral Drug Association
How has international experience shaped your career?
I’ve always been interested in travel. And throughout my career, I’ve had opportunities to pursue foreign assignments and learn from people with different cultural backgrounds. Their unique perspectives have helped enrich my own. In a previous role, I was lucky enough to be based in Switzerland for 18 months, where I worked on the development of an API site – a difficult task! In the early years of my career, the European Union didn’t exist, so regulation across Europe was varied. The differences between the US regulatory environment and that of our Swiss partners meant that we had to explain our ideas on manufacturing to them without dictating what they should do. The experience forced me to develop better communication skills. I couldn’t just regurgitate regulatory directives; I had to find ways of thoughtfully explaining the aspects that mattered.
In the years since, regulation across Europe has harmonized and there are very few notable differences between US and European pharmaceutical guidelines. However, in other regions of the world, there’s still work to be done – and, through the Parenteral Drug Association (PDA), my colleagues and I are helping manufacturers understand the benefits of regulatory convergence, as well as the ways cGMP practices can improve their manufacturing capabilities. I’ve certainly found a great deal of satisfaction in these projects and they continue to affect my professional life.
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