Lek receives award for good practice in personal data protection

30. 1. 2007

On the occasion of the first European Data Protection Day, on January 29th the Information Commissioner prepared a public panel at the Faculty of Law and awarded prizes for good practice in the protection of personal data. Lek was the only company in the private sector to receive one, while the Slovenj Gradec General Hospital received the public sector award.

“The award above all demonstrates that we have done something good and that we can stand as an example of good practice for other companies who have not yet organized their personal data protection. Of course it also means that now that the personal data protection system has been established, we will monitor all changes to legislation and take account of such changes. In short, we have to make sure the personal data protection system stays alive,” said personal data protection officer and Workers’ Director Marjan Novak upon receiving the award.

In addition to Minister of Justice Dr. Lovro Šturm, the public panel included several lawyers, social science professionals and well-known public personalities. The panel, which was led by Information Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar, was presented with everyday examples of improper protection or even abuse of personal data by both individuals and public institutions. The personal data protection experts agreed that we are insufficiently aware of our rights to privacy and that there are increasingly more pitfalls in modern society. In addition to a critical review of the handling of personal data by various institutions, the participants particularly pointed out that every individual can contribute to the curbing of such abuses by carefully protecting their data.

Award for good practice in personal data protection in the private sector

Upon presenting the private sector award to Lek Pharmaceuticals, Information Commissioner Nataša Pirc Musar stated: “During the inspection, Lek demonstrated a high level of professionalism and a correct attitude towards the state supervisor. Not only a correct attitude, but also all of the required documents that companies must issue pursuant to the Personal Data Protection Act were above expectations at Lek. The high quality and visually appealing brochure which Lek published for its employees is especially worthy of merit. Campaigns such as this brochure should become a basic accessory to the protection of personal data among other institutions.” The Information Commissioner also mentioned the exemplary fulfillment of other conditions which the Personal Data Protection Act prescribes for video surveillance: “A prominently displayed announcement that the area is under video surveillance, fast resolution of minor deficiencies and careful positioning of cameras that does not interfere with worker privacy are additional reasons that put Lek in first place in personal data protection among the institutions where inspections were performed in 2006.”

Personal data protection at Lek

Personal data protection is an important field which is receiving increasing amounts of attention from the social environment and from us as individuals. The protection of personal data is legislated by EU regulations, and Slovenia as a member of the EU has regulated this area through the Personal Data Protection Act, which also directs companies to harmonize their operations with the new regulations.

On the basis of changes to the Personal Data Protection Act, the Board of Management commissioned a project group (Project Leader Gorazd Hladnik, Marjan Novak, Matej Eržen, Miha Halas, Iztok Pičinin and Marjan Židanik) to prepare a project in which two internal regulations were drawn up: the Rules of Personal Data Protection and the Systemic General Procedure, which determines procedures and measures for protecting personal data.

Being aware of the fact that the protection of personal data has already been organized at Novartis, Lek was one of the first companies in the Group to have paid special attention to this field and aligned its handling of personal data with the most up-to-date standards. The management of the protection of personal data will be updated elsewhere at Sandoz with the help of Lek’s experiences.

The protection of personal data concerns all Lek employees and is therefore both a right and a duty, and above all an obligation for the company to organize the field appropriately.

According to Marjan Novak it was a difficult project, since all of the personal data databases had to be organized, and the project group had to determine the places to store the databases, how to protect them and who would be responsible for them. A catalogue had to be drawn up for each personal data database and certain parts of the catalogues had to be sent to the Republic of Slovenia Information Commissioner.

“When we had defined 32 personal data databases, we appointed the persons responsible for the databases and simplified the process so that it would not require an additional workload for too many Lek associates. Today we have 16 people responsible for the 32 personal data databases,” said Novak.

Rules of Personal Data Protection

The Rules determine the general procedures and measures for protecting personal data, the basic rules for handling personal data, the procedure for establishing or changing personal data databases, including informing the individual of the handling of their personal data, the handling of sensitive personal data, the persons responsible for certain personal data databases and the persons who handle certain personal data due to the requirements of their jobs, the personal data protection supervisor, contractual handling of personal data, the forwarding of personal data to third countries, direct marketing, video surveillance, supervision of sick leave, records of entries and exits from areas, biometry and internal procedures on the rights of individuals.

At Lek we consider the protection of personal data to be a positive element which can contribute to the increased reputation of our company on the market and ensure us a competitive advantage.

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Lek, a Sandoz company, is one of the pillars of leading world generics company Sandoz. It operates as a global development center for products and technologies, as a global manufacturing center for active pharmaceutical ingredients and medicines, as a competence center for the development of vertically integrated products, as a Sandoz competence center in the field of development and manufacturing of biopharmaceutical products and as a supply center for the markets of CEE, SEE and CIS, sales Slovenia and sales services for Sandoz’s global markets. Lek d.d. employs about 2,820 people and achieved total sales of USD 904 million in 2006. For further information please consult http://www.lek.si

Sandoz, a Division of the Novartis group, is a global leader in the field of generic pharmaceuticals, offering a wide array of high-quality, affordable products that are no longer protected by patents. Sandoz has a portfolio of more than 840 active substances in over 5 000 forms worldwide. Key product groups include antibiotics, treatments for central nervous system disorders, gastrointestinal medicines, cardiovascular treatments and hormone therapies. Sandoz develops, produces and markets these drugs along with pharmaceutical and biotechnological active substances and anti-infectives. In addition to the strong organic growth in recent years, Sandoz has made a series of acquisitions including Lek (Slovenia), Sabex (Canada), Hexal (Germany) and EonLabs (U.S.) and sells its products in more than 110 countries. In 2006, Sandoz employed around 21,000 people worldwide and posted sales of USD 6 billion.

Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS) is a world leader in offering medicines to protect health, cure disease and improve well-being. Our goal is to discover, develop and successfully market innovative products to treat patients, ease suffering and enhance the quality of life. Novartis is the only company with leadership positions in both patented and generic pharmaceuticals. We are strengthening our medicine-based portfolio, which is focused on strategic growth platforms in innovation-driven pharmaceuticals, high-quality and low-cost generics and leading self-medication OTC brands. In 2006, the Group’s businesses achieved net sales of USD 37.0 billion and net income of USD 7.2 billion. Approximately USD 5.4 billion was invested in R&D. Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Novartis Group companies employ approximately 101,000 people and operate in over 140 countries around the world. For more information, please visit http://www.novartis.com.

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This press release contains statements and conclusions based on projections of Lek’s future business operations. These estimates are derived from the best information currently available. In case these forecasts prove unreliable, the actual results could prove different from those projected.

For further information contact:
Katarina Klemenc Dinjaški
Corporate Communications
Lek Pharmaceuticals d.d.
Phone: + 386 1 580 22 43
Fax: + 386 1 580 24 32