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Interview with Rocío Gil and José Ignacio Olleros about the 2nd Compliance Officers Course

| News | Corporate Compliance

Farmaforum and Andersen Tax & Legal present the 2nd Advanced Compliance Officers Course in an interview with Rocío Gil and José Ignacio Olleros

Interview | Following the success of the first edition, Farmaforum and Andersen Tax & Legal, which joined Spain’s Olleros Abogados last March, present the 2nd Training Course for Compliance Officers in the pharmaceutical, chemical, biotechnology, cosmetic and related industries, which will start next September. We interviewed Rocío Gil Robles, Compliance Manager, and José Ignacio Olleros, Partner at Andersen Tax & Legal, to find out more about the first edition of the course and the new developments slated for this year.

How would you rate the first edition?

  • Rocío Gil: The evaluation was very positive. We wanted to organize something limited in which all participants had the time and resources to express their concerns and network while learning through organized classes and round tables. This format was perfect because the participants had similar backgrounds and interests within the sector and we made it happen. We didn’t want to increase the course size and we believe that was the key to success. The feedback has been great and largely due to in-house professionals and experts who collaborate on the programme who demonstrated an empathy and interest that’s not always easy to find in postgraduate studies. In short, we’re all excited about bigger, and, if possible, better things.

What was the background of the professionals who attended the course?

  • J. I. Olleros: We had an ample variety of professional backgrounds among the course participants, which enriched us as a whole. We had the heads of legal departments at different companies and also compliance managers, quality control managers, finance managers and sales administration directors.

What expectations did the attendees have and to what extent were they met?

  • J. I. Olleros: We believe we met the students’ expectations because that’s what they confirmed in the anonymous questionnaires we handed out at the end of each day and at the end of the course. Students gave the course an overall score of 8.7 out of 10 and said that the distribution of course content was balanced between general and more specific legal matters related to pharmaceutical regulation. This has been possible thanks to the face-to-face nature of the course, the generous contribution and efforts of all the speakers and the limited number of students, which facilitated more personalized individual training.

The programme was ambitious and comprehensive and included sections with different approaches, many of which would be wholly new concepts to participants. Were there any sections that aroused special interest?

  • Rocío Gil: It’s true that the first module of the Criminal Compliance programme in particular required extra effort for some students. Not all students came from a legal background. In fact, the percentage of legal and non-legal participants was exactly 50%. However, they soon understood the topical nature of the subject and its importance. We also apply theory in the practical domain. Students learned to identify and prioritize criminal risks, how they relate to other legal risks and ethical commitments, to associate controls and procedures...I think that they can now face the challenge with more knowledge, security and fresh ideas. As for the most relevant section for the students, I would undoubtedly pick the module dedicated to competition and industrial property law, as well as the lectures, all excellent in my opinion, which we share with the special guests that will return for this edition. The panel of experts that we’re lucky enough to work with is exceptional and the students appreciated their availability and approachability as well as the opportunity to exchange experiences and advice with them.

Almost two years have passed since the 2015 reform. To what extent have pharmaceutical and related companies adapted to the regulation. Is the role of the Compliance Officer's expanding?

  • Rocío Gil: The fact is that, for the most part, this sector was already familiar with the need to control risks, protect the brand and avoid reputational damage. Of course, the [Compliance Officer] was worried about his interest groups and has bosses who share his concern and are very supportive. Logically, what they have done and are doing, especially since 2015, is to identify their criminal risks, cross-sectoral and sectoral risks to which they must pay special attention whenever they operate in our country, regardless of the country in which they’re headquartered. Some companies have adapted their programmes to this need for compliance or have created an ad-hoc crime prevention programme that coexists with the other measures they have implemented. There are increasingly more professionals who are dedicated to supervising this model, usually with more compliance-related duties such as CSRs and brands as well.

To what extent will ongoing training in this area make a difference for professionals in the sector?

  • Rocío Gil: Well, in this sense legislation and good practices move at the speed of light. Since 2015, not only has the Penal Code been reformed, but ISO 19600, UNE 19601 and UNE 37001 have also been published, there have been seven Spanish Supreme Court rulings on criminal liability for legal entities, the Office of the Attorney General’s bulletin on these rulings…all this information is relevant and it’s crucial for professionals who work in this sector to be familiar with these changes, how they are affected by them and know the best practices in this regard. Moreover, since this is such new material, knowing the regulations and sharing best practices with third parties provides a lot of security in their work, if they have a job interview or are in line for a promotion to a Compliance job. That’s why we decided on this format, which we think works for such special sectors.

The second edition of the course starts in September. Will there be new developments? What are they?

  • J. I. Olleros: The main development is that an additional day has been added to the course, increasing the 32 teaching hours of the first edition to 36, which will be divided into nine days of four hours each from 22 September to 1 December. The new course will include a new module on labour compliance as a tool to prevent and control risks associated with legal compliance in the workplace as well as employee use of new information and communication technologies (ICTs). We will also spend more time on the section on the implementation of the effective prevention and management of regulatory compliance model and to the practical cases with students. In addition, this second edition will devote more time to the parts of the programme that relate to competition law and industrial property, as well as regulatory compliance with data protection. I’d also like to mention that the course on self-regulation in the pharmaceutical sector will be enhanced by the involvement of the Director of the Deontological Supervision Unit at Farmaindustria.

To what extent and in what way will the feedback from the first edition be implemented?

  • JI Olleros: We’ll keep everything that ensured the success of the first edition of the course in place, spending more time on practical cases, which the students will do individually or as a team, at the end of each training session.

How would you encourage those professionals who are interested in the subject to attend the course?

  • Rocío Gil: Being trained in a subject with a promising future through a course that focuses exclusively on the sector and in which everyone speaks “the same language” and shares the same concerns is a unique opportunity. You might work hard, but all the sessions are fun, you work on real cases, share experiences that provide ideas you can implement or innovate in terms of prevention programmes, and students personally solve real issues regarding the implementation of criminal compliance programmes. Every session is approached with enthusiasm and the student gains the confidence to handle the significant challenge that Compliance currently implies.


For further information, please contact

Rocío Gil Robles

José Ignacio Olleros Izard

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