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GlaxoSmithKline will no longer pay doctors to attend conferences

Funding for speaking engagements also withdrawn in pharmaceutical giant’s revamp of marketing practices

Ingrid Torjesen

Thursday, 19 December 2013

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced that by 2016 it will stop paying doctors for attending medical conferences or for speaking engagements to promote products or a particular disease area as part of a major revamp of its sales and marketing practices.

Instead GSK plans a new system under which independent organisations, such as professional colleges and universities, can approach the company for a grant for a particular doctor to attend a medical conference.

And in a further change, by 2015, GSK’s sales force will also no longer have individual sales targets. Instead, sales representatives will be rewarded for "technical knowledge" and the "quality of the service they deliver to support improved patient care". Their compensation will also be linked to the overall performance of GSK. Salespeople in the US have already been working under those conditions since 2011.

Sir Andrew Witty, chief executive of GSK, said: "Today we are outlining a further set of measures to modernise our relationship with healthcare professionals.

"These are designed to bring greater clarity and confidence that whenever we talk to a doctor, nurse or other prescriber, it is patients' interests that always come first.

“We recognise that we have an important role to play in providing doctors with information about our medicines, but this must be done clearly, transparently and without any perception of conflict of interest.”

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