Our employees adhere to applicable laws and regulations, as well as conduct consistent with our commitment to honesty, fairness and integrity.
Ethics & Compliance Program
The Focus of AbbVie’s Ethics & Compliance Program:
At AbbVie, all employees are expected to lead and foster a culture of ethical and compliant behavior. To assist us, AbbVie has an Office of Ethics and Compliance (OEC), which focuses on the development and enhancement of our compliance program. OEC is led by our Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer (CECO), who is a member of our senior management and makes regular reports regarding compliance matters to the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, other senior-level leaders and AbbVie’s Board of Directors and Public Policy Committee. The OEC staff provides dedicated support to AbbVie’s leaders, employees and businesses.
To assist in the implementation of the compliance program, AbbVie has a Business Conduct Committee (BCC) and a US Pharmaceutical Compliance Committee (PCC). Both committees are chaired by the CECO, include senior-level leaders, and are accountable directly to the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. The BCC focuses on the global compliance program, while the PCC focuses on compliance matters relating to the United States. Both committees hold periodic meetings to discuss compliance matters within their respective charters, including adherence to legal and regulatory obligations and commitments, assessment of our compliance program, changes in the legal and regulatory environment, risk areas and best practices, and improvements to the program.
Outside the United States, our Affiliate Compliance Program is managed by local Affiliate Compliance Committees, which are composed of the General Manager and other top executives within a country. Working with OEC staff, the Affiliate Compliance Committees are responsible for the day-to-day function of the compliance program, including monitoring of compliance, providing awareness of and training for the program, revising policies and procedures and providing guidance to local employees. The committees meet on a regular basis to discuss emerging issues and work with the OEC staff as new compliance and awareness programs are rolled out. Compliance professionals are located throughout the world and provide oversight and guidance to the Affiliate Compliance Committees.
The Code of Business Conduct, published in print and online, sets forth core guidelines and requirements for ethical behavior. AbbVie employees read and certify adherence to our Code annually. Our Code states clearly that AbbVie does not tolerate illegal or unethical behavior in any aspect of our business. It emphasizes the importance of ethical and honest conduct, adhering to AbbVie’s policies and procedures, treating confidential information appropriately, avoiding conflicts of interest and maintaining AbbVie’s books and records with accuracy and integrity. Further, it requires our employees to ask questions about or report any concerns regarding compliance matters.
In addition to our Code, we have policies and procedures that guide employees as they conduct their day-to-day activities. They encompass relevant laws and regulations, including food and drug laws and laws relating to government health care programs. They also take into account industry best practices, including provisions of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s (PhRMA) Code on Interactions with Health Care Professionals, as well as other applicable industry codes. We regularly update our policies to incorporate changes to the law and industry codes, including rules regarding gifts, meals and education we provide to health care professionals.
AbbVie also complies with legal, industry and relevant institutions’ requirements regarding the interaction of our employees with health care professionals and organizations. We comply with national, regional, state and other requirements regarding transparency about our relationships with individuals and entities involved in providing health care. As required, we track and report payments and transfers of value (such as meals) provided to health care providers and organizations.
Creating an environment where employees can raise questions and concerns helps us advance our commitment to ethical behavior. We have established systems and processes for employees and others to ask questions, raise concerns and report suspected or actual violations of our Code, policies and procedures, or laws and regulations, without fear of retribution or retaliation. We offer a number of resources to employees, such as our Ethics and Compliance Helpline (800-254-0462), a telephone- and web-based hotline available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees also may contact the OEC or the CECO directly.
All allegations are analyzed and corrective actions are taken where necessary, including terminating employees or supplier relationships. In accordance with our internal or legal obligations, we report information about actual or potential violations to senior management, the Board and the government(s), as appropriate. The OEC also creates opportunities to engage in face-to-face interactions with employees by participating in national, regional and local meetings. Issues also are highlighted on our OEC intranet site and through other targeted communications vehicles.
Training and education programs for employees and other relevant personnel increase their awareness of our Code’s precepts and the legal and ethical implications of their actions and behaviors. AbbVie’s ethics and compliance staff work with our local commercial teams throughout the world to help them conduct trainings and education programs that help ensure compliance and strengthen AbbVie’s reputation as a responsible corporate citizen while enhancing relationships with customers and other stakeholders.
For example, employees in the United States, Puerto Rico and Latin America participate in our Legal and Ethics Resource Network program, a Web-based training system designed to increase awareness of policies and procedures, as well as the legal and ethical implications of business decisions. Another successful approach has been the use of interactive ethics challenge games, in which local employees meet face-to-face with OEC representatives to ask questions and discuss company policies.
AbbVie employees and other relevant personnel are expected to adhere to our Code as a condition of their continued employment. Anyone who violates our Code, or any policy or procedure, is subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Any AbbVie employee who fails to report a violation of AbbVie policy or procedure of which he or she is or should have been aware may also be subject to disciplinary action. AbbVie does not tolerate retaliation against anyone who makes a good-faith report regarding a violation or potential violation of our Code, policies or procedures, or laws or regulations. These guidelines are well publicized and enforced.
The OEC utilizes results from internal investigations, internal audits and internal monitoring programs to assess the effectiveness of, and identify areas for improvement in, the compliance program and relevant business practices. In addition, we consider the external environment, including government investigations, settlements, industry codes and government guidance to identify new opportunities to enhance the compliance program.
Results of investigations, audits and monitoring are communicated to the appropriate OEC staff and business leaders. When an area for improvement is identified, the OEC and other AbbVie functions partner to implement corrective actions.