Product renewal problems in the time of pandemic
When a pesticide company has a large portfolio of products, it can seem like a non-stop merry-go-round of activity to keep all these products authorised and on the market in all the individual countries. Each action in support of a product leads to new actions and new deadlines: some document to be submitted, an extension of use, a renewal. Any missed deadline can potentially lead to the withdrawal of a product from the market, 6 months to use up stocks and having to apply for a new authorisation.
During this period of Covid-19, one of our clients had all of their staff working from home. The transition was rapid and their systems had to pivot overnight. Suddenly there was a whole new range of challenges and barriers to efficient working. Unfortunately, this led to a situation where a deadline was missed for the renewal of a product: this was not noticed until a few days later. Our client called us to ask if there was anything that we could do.
The Enviresearch approach
We realised that we needed to take action straight away. The impact if the authority declined the renewal was a lot of delay, cost and potentially lost sales for the client. The first thing that we did was to call the authority and explain the situation. We tried to help them understand the peculiar details of the case and make the case for some flexibility. We explained that this had not happened before and that it was only the situation of the pandemic that had caused this oversight.
We spoke with the head of the unit that would process the renewal application, we were referred to the director. We spoke with the sub-director and explained that we would be sending the delayed renewal application. We then reviewed the documents from the client, ensured that everything was in order, wrote a covering letter detailing the actions that we had already taken, and took them round to the ministry by hand.
We make a lot of submissions to the authority for this client, so in the end the good news story is that the renewal application was made. We won’t know the outcome until we receive a formal response from the ministry, but we have ensured that this application has the best possible chance. We recognised that it was not enough to simply pretend that there was not a problem: we applied diplomacy and negotiation to get the best outcome possible for the client.