The content of this website is intended for healthcare professionals only

Pharmaceutical industry joins disclosure debate

We will develop ‘central registry’ says industry boss

Jo Carlowe

Friday, 17 January 2014

The pharmaceutical profession has today spelt out its intentions to develop a central registry for disclosures of financial interests.

Stephen Whitehead, chief executive of The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), has submitted a letter to the BMJ responding to an open letter published in the BMJ in which doctors and academics called on the General Medical Council to set up a central registry of doctors’ competing interests (see OnMedica News).

Mr Whitehead’s letter, which was only submitted yesterday evening, described ‘transparency of financial relationships between industry and healthcare professionals’ as an ‘important priority’ for the ABPI.

The letter describes existing industry arrangements around the issue of disclosure of financial interests and sets out future plans.

Last year, ABPI member companies agreed, as part of amendments to the ABPI Code of Practice, to disclose payments to individually named healthcare professionals, including consultancy services such as speaking and sponsorship to attend medical education meetings. This will come into effect in 2016.

The letter, explains that a consultation was held in 2013 to identify in principle whether there would be support from the healthcare professional community for a centrally-hosted single searchable database, with a proactive role for healthcare professionals in validating and submitting financial information.

“The overwhelming majority of respondents, including representatives of the leading healthcare professional bodies and over 1,000 individual healthcare professionals agreed that payments should be transparent and publicly declared (90%), and that healthcare professionals should have a role to play in making this happen (77%),” states Mr Whitehead.

In addition, he states that the ABPI Board, agreed in December 2013 to lead on developing a publicly available central registry for disclosures.

“We want to do this in partnership with the medical community, and our next step is to host a multi-stakeholder event in early Spring to discuss the role of healthcare professional groups and bodies. I hope the GMC, and other stakeholders take up this unique opportunity to engage in discussion about how we can coordinate efforts so that we can develop a robust registry that meets the expectations and needs of healthcare professionals, industry, the wider public and, most importantly, patients,” concluded Mr Whitehead.

Registered in England and Wales. Reg No. 2530185. c/o Wilmington plc, 5th Floor, 10 Whitechapel High Street, London E1 8QS. Reg No. 30158470