PRINCETON, N.J. — When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, the generic drug industry faced many challenges, says Vanessa Brill, vice president and regional general counsel for the Americas at Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.
For Dr. Reddy’s, the challenges included finding ways to continue to produce drugs at manufacturing facilities that had to operate at decreased capacity out of concern for the safety of employees, and arranging transportation of the drugs across borders with all of the shutdowns to control the outbreak. “We have worked and continue to work through these challenges as the situation evolves,” she says.
Notwithstanding the challenges, “we continue to focus on the opportunities we have, as a company and as an industry, to have a positive impact on people’s lives in managing through this tragic epidemic,” says Brill, who is also on the board of directors of the Association for Affordable Medicines (AAM).
“Dr. Reddy’s makes medicines, and our core purpose is that patients continue to have access to affordable medicines, whether those medicines are for the treatment of COVID-19 or other conditions,” she comments.
For AAM she participates in formulating the organization’s strategic goals for representing the generic drug industry. “One of those goals is to have positive and productive interactions with legislators, policy makers and other interested parties to help address their concerns around too much reliance on a global supply chain,” she notes. “As everyone is aware, this issue has come to the forefront with the COVID pandemic and related concerns about shortages of drugs and other necessities that are made, in whole or in part, in other countries.
“As a member of the AAM board, I am participating in the development of several initiatives that seek to create a workable balance between ‘local’ and ‘global’ manufacturing to manage risk around shortages.”
Since joining Dr. Reddy’s 12 years ago, Brill’s responsibilities have steadily expanded to encompass all aspects of the company’s diversified operations in the Americas, including the U.S., Canada and Latin America. Her team serves as strategic legal and compliance advisors to all of Dr. Reddy’s businesses and functions.
“Giving legal and compliance ‘advice’ is not enough. As lawyers we deliver the most value when we help the company, including its senior management, manage legal and compliance risks while still meeting business objectives. This can be a challenging balancing act that involves innovative thinking, advocacy, and a lot of collaboration between our team and our stakeholders. However challenging, we aspire to fulfill this purpose as a team every day.”
Brill started her career at Dr. Reddy’s in 2008 as a senior lawyer helping launch the company’s new specialty branded business in the U.S. Earlier she was a counselor at Schering-Plough Corp., a U.S.-based pharmaceutical company that years later merged with Merck.
She started her career in private practice as both a litigator and a corporate attorney at a large law firm in New Jersey. After a few years she realized she particularly enjoyed working for clients in the life sciences industries and, even more when she took on the type of assignments that allowed her to take a deeper dive into clients’ business and feel as if she was truly part of their company.
“With that awareness, I decided to push my career in a different direction by going back to school for an LL.M. in health law and policy while simultaneously requesting that my firm allow me straddle both the litigation and corporate departments so that I could get more exposure to our corporate clients in the life sciences industry.”