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Martin VanTrieste

The Power List 2017 – Industry Influencers

Martin VanTrieste

Chairman of the Board, Parenteral Drug Association (PDA)

“I am most passionate about patients. Far too often, our industry has failed to live up to its responsibilities and there are far too many recalls and drug shortages. I hear many reasons or excuses for these failures, but in my opinion it is clear: our industry has not focused on product quality using the principles preached by Dr W Edwards Deming in the 1950s and 1960s.

“Instead, quality in the pharmaceutical industry really represents compliance to regulations. What our industry will have to do to stay competitive and serve patients is to embrace quality beyond compliance.  Philip Crosby is right: ‘Quality is Free,’ and those who shun the idea, are doomed to fail. Just like Toyota almost killed Detroit with low cost, high quality automobiles, there are new non-traditional competitors entering the pharmaceutical industry that might do the same.”

Pivotal moment
“I started my career in R&D as a formulation pharmacist in a pilot plant. I envisioned spending most of my career at the bench or in R&D management, but then one day early in my career, I heard that one of my colleagues (and golf partners!) was leaving the company. My supervisor informed me that they were having a difficult time filling the position and that he believed I was the right person for the job. We talked about the job of ‘Product Complaint Manager’ before I agreed to throw my hat into the ring. That Friday, I had a series of interviews and by Monday morning I had the job.

“I often say my favorite job was my first job in R&D and the job I learned the most at was when I was the Product Complaint Manager. That intense learning gave me exposure to all parts of the company, not just R&D. I worked closely and learned from sales, marketing, manufacturing, supply chain, quality, regulatory, legal, public affairs and medical. My most valuable learnings were how to promote, be persuasive, present in public and to understand the audience in front of me. It also cemented my patient focused passion. The Product Complaint job quickly led to my advancement in various operations roles, culminating as the Chief Quality Officer at Amgen.”

“I believe the industry will begin a major transformation over the next five years. We have entered into what many have called the biotechnology century. By cracking the human genetic code, we have unleashed a movement that will advance medicine faster than ever before in human history. With this vast knowledge, new drugs and therapies will take less time to develop, test in clinical studies and gain regulatory approval. These new medications and therapies will require an entirely different manufacturing and distribution system. In just 10 years, I believe that virtually none of the current manufacturing and distribution systems will exist.”

Part of the Power List 2017

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