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Drug company payments to doctors must be disclosed

Payments for speaker fees and consultancy will be made public

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 09 November 2010

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has amended its Code of Practice to increase transparency of the interactions that occur between the pharmaceutical industry and doctors and other healthcare professionals.

From 2011 drug companies will no longer give health professionals branded promotional items. Only inexpensive items to be passed on and used by patients as part of a formal patient support programme will be permitted under the new Code.

Companies will also have to declare, on an annual basis payments, to healthcare professionals for services such as speaker fees, advisory boards and consultancy, and sponsorship for attendance at meetings. The first declaration will be made in 2013 for payments made in 2012. However, recipients of the fees will remain anonymous.

Simon Jose, President of the ABPI, said: “We operate in a world where customers’ and society’s expectations of our industry have increased and it is only right that we adapt to this. Our members’ vote in support of the changes to the Code recognises this need and also reflects the very supportive feedback from external organisations that these changes clearly resonate with health professionals. It is both important and absolutely right that we have a professional and meaningful relationship with healthcare professionals – these changes ensure that this will continue to be done in a transparent and appropriate manner.”

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