Ethics and transparency

Building trust through the way we work


Our objective

We want to be valued not only for our medicines, but also for the way we work. We will lead our industry in demonstrating ethical business practices and applying high levels of integrity to everything we do. We apply consistently high standards of ethical practice and scientific conduct throughout our business and supply chain.


2017 Highlights

100%

of active employees trained in code of ethics

Launched

Patient Partnership Programme

$6.9 million

worth of counterfeit and illegal medicines seized


2017 SDG Highlights

78%

of spend assessed through our third-party risk management programme

Environmental footprint data

is reported by our suppliers

8,977

supplier assessments carried out


Our strategy

At AstraZeneca, we operate in a transparent and ethical way and expect the same high standards from our suppliers and partners. Whether it’s investing in technological alternatives to animals in science for our research or refusing to tolerate bribery or any other form of corruption, we go above and beyond what is required of us to be an example of how good business is done.

We prioritise the eight sustainability issues identified by our materiality assessment:

  • setting strong anti-bribery and anti-corruption controls
  • ensuring ethical sales and marketing
  • the way we interact with patients
  • transparency of our clinical trials
  • our approach to bioethics
  • research with animals
  • ethically managing our supply chain
  • having product security controls to deter counterfeiting.

Our stories

Our ethics are universal

Behaving with the highest standards of ethics and transparency is the responsibility of every employee and is guided by our global Code of Ethics. We relaunched our Code of Ethics in 2017 to strengthen employee understanding and adherence by outlining our commitments in simple terms and focusing on why these commitments matter. The updated code is comprised of our company values, expected behaviours and global policies, and is further supported by requirements at the global, local and business-unit level, to provide clear guidance and direction to employees when carrying out their daily work.

Our professional interactions are transparent

By providing visibility into the details of financial arrangements with HCPs and HCOs, AstraZeneca hopes to foster a greater understanding of the value, appropriateness, and necessity of relationships between the pharmaceutical industry and HCPs and HCOs – relationships critical to the research and development of new medicines and to vital exchanges of information within the broader medical community. For more information as well as a view of our disclosure reports, click on the link below:

We expect our third parties to meet these same high ethical standards. AstraZeneca is a member of the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) and supports its principles for Responsible Supply Chain Management for ethics, labor, health and safety, environment, and related management systems. These principles are incorporated into our Expectations of Third Parties Handbook.

Disrupting the illegal trade in medicines

In 2017, we discovered an offer for an AstraZeneca-branded compound in an online cancer chat room. We tested the compound and confirmed it was not authentic. Several months of undercover work and hours of surveillance identified an established illegal manufacturing, distribution and sales network. We submitted evidence to the police and health authorities who acknowledged the potential threat to patient safety and agreed to detain the criminal gang. This resulted in simultaneous raids across several locations. Authorities arrested 12 people and seized more than 8.5kg of the illegally manufactured compound and more than 1,500 filled capsules, worth approximately US$2.3 million on the black market. The annual turnover of the illegal sales of this compound by the criminal syndicate is estimated to be more than US$81 million. The investigation has reduced threats to patients by disrupting the illegal supply chain.

Animals in science

AstraZeneca continues to be one of the few pharmaceutical companies continually seeking to reward its scientists and animal care staff for exceptional commitment and delivery of work supporting the 3Rs. We achieve this through the C-SAW Global 3Rs Awards, a competitive and highly visible awards scheme that also leads into the CEO Awards. Our 2017 winners included a group working at a frontier of precision medicine, where a novel experimental design for mouse studies used the population response of individual animals, achieving a significant reduction in the numbers of animals needed compared to traditional studies. ◦ ◦ Another team adopted a new approach to cell culturing techniques prior to patient-derived xenograft (PDX) studies in mice, with the potential for very large reductions in the numbers of animals needed in PDX studies. The updated code is comprised of our company values, expected behaviours and global policies, and is further supported by requirements at the global, local and business-unit level, to provide clear guidance and direction to employees when carrying out their daily work.

Image source: http://www.understandinganimalresearch.org.uk/resources/image-library 


Read more about ethics and transparency in our report

To view our Code of Ethics, policies, standards and positions, visit our Resources page