Wednesday, October 26, 2016
Interview with Board Member, Wes Schmidt Minimize

Interview with Board Member, Wes Schmidt


Rx-360: What is your current role at AbbVie?  Where did you start your career?

First, it will be probably help to share some quick background on my current position. AbbVie spun off from Abbott at the start of 2013. AbbVie basically was the former proprietary branded pharmaceuticals division. Abbott remains a diversified device, food, optical, branded generics and animal health care company. 

I started at Abbott in 1986 in Diagnostics R&D. Today I am in AbbVie working in the Quality Systems group. Prior to today, I spent many years in supplier QA and also spent some time in Procurement.  

It was shortly after I moved to the proprietary branded pharmaceuticals division, that the spinoff was announced.  Initially, this was a surprise, but it has truly been the greatest career opportunity.

Rx-360: How did you first hear about Rx-360 and what about it caught your attention?  

Abbott was actually a founding Board Member of Rx-360, and I took over for the incumbent. At my first meeting in Washington, D.C., I instantly realized how this consortium made a huge difference. As someone whose career was mostly medical devices, I was thrilled to see the different level of collaboration between pharmaceutical companies.

With Rx-360, there is a clear line of sight to improving healthcare. I wanted to be involved simply to improve the safety of life-saving medicines.

Rx-360: What aspects of Rx-360 do you find you are most passionate about? 

I would say I am most passionate about the value the organization brings and the opportunities we have to make a difference. As a participant in the Membership Committee, it gives us a chance to speak about the benefits of Rx-360 to other non-member companies. It is an easy conversation as it quickly becomes a discussion about how the consortium has gained trust in the world after only a few years of existence.

Rx-360: What do you think has been Rx-360’s greatest achievements so far?

Trust. We trust each others as Members, and the Regulators/Observers believe they can trust us for instant involvement in anything they want an industry perspective or assistance on.

Rx-360: What do you think Rx-360’s greatest opportunities are in the near future?  Two main areas:

  1. Technology will enable greater supply chain security. As we work together as a consortium of manufacturers and suppliers, our combined experiences and efforts with technology should be reviewed and shared for the benefits of patient safety.
  2. Sharing audits. Regulatory agencies around the world use third party audits and readily share audit reports. As a consortium, it has been challenging to establish a bigger program for sharing or co-sponsoring. In the past 10 years, all companies have truly struggled with auditor resources juxtaposed against the absolute necessity to see suppliers in person. Streamlining the audit process and making it easier for us to leverage our collective audits will allow us to focus on the greater risk mitigations.

Rx-360: What about the greatest challenges? 

Membership and member commitment. A consortium is a collection of member companies. Despite the fact that we are “volunteer” workers, it is truly up to us individually to continue to make an impact. Our membership should continue to grow as diversity is the key to us expanding in other areas and making a difference for patients worldwide.

Rx-360: Is there anything else you’d like to add? 

The 18th century poet Alexander Pope (famously known for “to err is human, to forgive, divine”) was quoted as saying:

On life’s vast ocean we sail. Reasons the card, but passion the gale.

For the members, your passion for the reason why we are in this industry will continue to help us make progress on the committees, sign up new members, expand our scope and maintain trust of the regulators. Let’s continue to share our passion, and I sincerely appreciate how your actions continue to motivate me.



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