This is an interview of Creative Pharma Services’ president and CEO Maria Mitropoulou, originally published in Leaseplan magazine: ‘Discover LeasePlan Φθινόπωρο 2017’.
Q: Please give a description of Creative Pharma Services (CPS) company
A: Creative Pharma Services is a full-function CRO with a strong presence in Greece and strategic partnerships with overseas companies. We have been active for over five years in the field of biopharmaceutical services and during this period we have shown significant growth leaps, both in human resources as well as in potential projects and services. We offer our partners consistently reliable services, which cover the entire range of the pharmaceutical industry as well as the research and development of new biotech technologies.
Creative Pharma Services, fully in-line with European Standards, offers comprehensive services relating to the design, organisation, conduct and quality control of clinical trials, the pharmacovigilance of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and the conduct of regulatory affairs covering all life circle of drugs, whether they be innovative substances or generic products.
In addition, we offer reliable data management solutions and bio-statistical processing and analysis, following the latest European guidelines for clinical data management.
What differentiates CPS, however, is that, by utilising the vast experience of its senior executives, it also offers the most reliable staffing and placement services in the pharmaceutical field, thus providing its customers with a significant lead in the effective short- or medium-term coverage of their HR needs.
Q: How important is it to employ top quality executives and to offer superior services in this industry?
A: Creative’s strategic strength lies with its executives and staff. We are committed both to the recruitment of experienced professionals, with high scientific background and significant experience and specialisation, as well as to the systematic training of young scientists entering the industry. We believe that knowledge is a force and a prerequisite for excellence.
Creative currently employs some of the most experienced Project Managers and CRAs in the field while, simultaneously, educating systematically a significant number of young scientists that will become the senior executives of tomorrow.
The innovative way in which we deal with the provision of services at all levels of our activity, whether they be clinical trials or pharmacovigilance of medicines and medical devices or any other short or long-term assignment service, ensures their more efficient handling, combining high value/performance with competitive costs.
Q: What are the core values that a business must have in order to succeed in the domestic market and possibly cross the border?
A: Creative is committed to consistently delivering high-quality outsourced services to all its customers. We are one of the few companies in the industry that have substantially invested in certification by international organizations for information security, ISO 27001, and we are constantly being audited for the quality of our processes under ISO 9001. We also invest substantially and systematically in a quality culture.
The European standardized system of structure and certifications for our customers and partners means that they will receive, regardless of the complexity and timetable requirements of each project, high-quality services during all phases of the projects.
Some of the success variables that we at Creative are constantly evaluating during a project include achieving milestones, managing cost effectively – through continuous budget monitoring, maintaining a high level of customer communication, offering continuous education and training for the project team, as well as applying a Risk/Management-based approach to organising and carrying out any project, regardless of its budget.
Q: How do you answer to your customers’ needs? List the comparative benefits of your services.
A: Our core principles are responsibility, knowledge, and adaptation to the needs and requirements of our customers, supported by continuous and creative communication with them. What I keep repeating to my colleagues is that the degree of difficulty in keeping our customers is clearly higher than that of attracting new ones. And that’s the challenge for us.
CPS manages a large number of clinical trials in all major therapeutic areas, with extensive experience in (immune) oncology / haematology, cardiology, rheumatology, rare diseases, respiratory system, central nervous system, dermatology, and ophthalmology. Our staff has successfully managed large-scale projects, from monitoring a clinical centre as part of a multinational test, to coordinating multi-centre, basic tests.
We have the know-how, the human resources, and the financial strength to meet all the clinical testing requirements at all levels. The staff that carries out and supports clinical studies has more than 20 years of combined work experience in clinical research.
The management of clinical trials may include whole programs, starting from conceptual planning to producing final clinical reports, or specific individual projects, such as clinical trial approval procedures, monitoring, and close out of specific clinical study sites.
Q: How important to achieving your goals is finding suitable partners, such as LeasePlan?
A: Finding reliable partners and achieving a good level of cooperation, both within the company and with vendor-partnerships, is reflected in the quality and efficiency of our services.
As a result, Creative Pharma Services considers it important to achieve its goals of working with companies and partners who share the same quality and investment principles for staff and services.
We are always looking for that common ground in our partnerships which will create the potential for increased productivity while providing a mutual benefit. Successful cooperation helps us maintain our strategic advantages by assisting in our continuous and steady dedication to the improvement of our services and the introduction of new and innovative services in our field.
Because of the nature of our work, CPS executives are moving daily both within the metropolitan and urban centres of the Attica district, as well as to the urban centres of regional Greece. It is, thus, extremely important to have the confidence LeasePlan provides us by supporting our fleet.
LeasePlan supports the high demands associated with our actions and, with its experienced executives, immediacy, consistency and reliability, remain a trusted partner for us.
Q: What is your vision? How do you define success?
A: Our vision, from day one, has been to become the first choice for our customers, to contribute to the creation of a better business environment in the field of development of medicines and health technologies, to continuously improve and update the quality of our services, and to continue to train highly skilled associates with a focus on excellence, professionalism, integrity and consistency.
One of our key actions is the responsibility of organizing, conducting, and performing the quality control of clinical trials, the benefits of which for the participating patients are multidimensional. From gaining direct access to innovative treatments, to the indirect long-term utilisation of acquired knowledge and improving health and quality of life, patients enjoy many benefits from participating in clinical studies. And for us to be a link on this long chain towards improving healthcare and quality of life for patients, is extremely important. The successful completion of a well-designed, innovative clinical study will always be the measure of success for us.
However, the key factor in achieving our vision lies with our human resources. So the greatest investment we make at CPS is in education, training, and the high specialisation of our executives. This allows us to remain committed to the key success criterion, our customers’ satisfaction, but also creates the sincere sense to our executives that they belong in a workplace which provides them with opportunities for career development and personal growth.
Q: What are your future plans?
A: Continuous, targeted, and strategically designed growth, while closely monitoring the dynamic developments at a national, regional, and European level. This is the framework upon which Creative made its first steps and continues to apply to any new developmental action. We are particularly interested in growing our transnational project base with leading R & D countries, particularly in the field of medical devices. This way, by linking foreign innovation with clinical centres of excellence and high specialisation in our country, we want to establish a stable bridge of cooperation, initially in the field of clinical studies and then in all the supporting functions of the pharmaceutical business.
The area of clinical studies will, in any case, change radically in the years to come. The new European Union Clinical Trials Regulation will significantly affect the way in which all stakeholders are involved. Creative Pharma Services keeps a close eye on developments, both nationally and at European level, and is ready to gradually incorporate new guidelines and co-modify adaptation to the new regulatory era in our field.