TrustinIP inaugurates a series of interviews to lawyers that stand apart for their excellent skills. We will ask these “lords of law” to express their view on legal issues and personal opinions, hoping to give our readers some enjoyable minutes. We start with Veit Stoll, Director Legal Affairs & Compliance for MSD Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Good morning Mr. Stoll. What’s the weather like today in Munich?
Pretty fair. Partly sunny and some degrees Celsius above zero.
Today you are a renowned lawyer. What led you into studying law? As a school student, did you wish to become a lawyer?
Yes. Always wanted to be independent and have a broad education as basis for a variety of career choices.
What does an in-house counsel at MSD mostly deal with?
All aspects of Pharmaceutical Law in the setting of a US based group of companies. Focus currently being on local reimbursement rules and business development.
In-house counsels need to have skills in many fields of law. What is your favourite legal area?
Pricing & Reimbursement
The pharmaceutical market is a regulated sector strongly influenced by IP and antitrust law. In your opinion, is the interplay between these fields of law predictable enough?
Unfortunately not. As the Sector Inquiry conducted by the Commission some years ago has shown there are many areas of uncertainty and unresolved questions, especially regarding several instruments of the “toxic toolbox” like e.g. “vexatious litigation”.
Are there significant legal issues to be solved by the legislator in the pharmaceutical sector in Germany and in the EU?
An area where we still lack harmonization within EU is the question of a value assessment or health technology assessment as basis for pricing. It is a big challenge to agree on overall principles, procedures and criteria for assessing the value of drugs, but we shouldn´t forget that before the European codification of the drug law there was a comparably uncoordinated situation in EU regarding process and criteria of granting marketing authorizations.
The new blockbuster drug for 2017?
Immunoncology in general and pembrolizumab (Keytruda) in particular.
One interesting thing about your job and one boring.
International meetings of any kind on the one hand, “red tape” like setting purchase orders for engagement of outside counsels on the other hand.
You are supposed to work frequently with external counsels. Say one quality you appreciate in external lawyers and one you don’t.
The high expertise of external lawyers, e.g. to know all developments of their area of expertise by heart, is something I admire. What I don´t like are theoretical discussions which do not help to resolve the respective problem.
Your company undergoes antitrust scrutiny: which criteria do you follow to choose external lawyers?
We have a global panel with a variety of selection criteria.
Work/life balance at MSD?
Possible, but requires permanent discipline.
If you could change one law of your country, what would that be?
Even though I´m in favour of deregulation, it is obvious that the state also has clear protective responsibilities. E.g. what happens on German roads, is just uncivilized. Would set a speed limit therefore.
One thing you like and one you don’t of your homeland?
If you have a car problem, people quickly stop by and offer help. On the other hand, there is this irrational tendency of unlimited racing, see above.
Let’s move now to the hottest issues. What’s your standard dish when you are back home after a long day at the office?
I like diversity, not standardization.
Are you a morning person or a night person?
Early bird. Morning hours are most productive.
The first three websites you see in the morning when you switch on your PC?
Favourite place for winter and summer holidays?
Zermatt in winter and Provence in summer.
The last book you read?
Augustus by John Williams.
Running. Hiking. Dancing
What piece of advice would you give to a young lawyer who wants to join your team?
It´s all about trust. In yourself and in others.