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ABPI Code calls for greater transparency

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry has revealed that the revised Code of Practice will make tougher demands on drug manufacturers to be more open in their relationships with health professionals and patient groups
The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (APBI) has revealed that the revised Code of Practice will make tougher demands on drug manufacturers to be more open in their relationships with health professionals and patient groups.

Now in its 50th year, the ABPI Code will place greater emphasis on pharma companies disclosing information about their financial or indirect support of patient organisations. The revisions to the Code mean the industry will have to make information about donations and grants to healthcare and research institutions available to the public.

"The ABPI Code is continually evolving to ensure that the pharmaceutical industry and its stakeholders can have maximum confidence in the standards set for ethical and responsible behaviour of companies and staff," said president of the ABPI, Chris Brinsmead.

As well as being made to provide information about their support for patient groups, firms will need to have contracts drawn up for health professionals employed as consultants.

Changes to the ABPI Code will come into effect on July 1, 2008 and are a reflection of the provisions of the two European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) codes.

"The ABPI has not only agreed to revisions to implement the new requirements of the EFPIA Code - as we are obliged to do - but also made further amendments to reflect experience, comments and suggestions received since the introduction of the 2006 code," said Brinsmead.

Complaints against the industry or individual pharmaceutical companies will also be subject to increased scrutiny under the revised Code. Where final reports of complaint investigations are delayed because of procedural audits, interim reports must now be published.

In addition, pharma firms will be required to do more to encourage healthcare professionals to notify them and regulatory agencies of adverse drug reactions (ADRs). Failure of any given drug developer to disclose details of ongoing clinical trials will also be considered a breach of the revised Code.

Details of the new Code can be found on the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) website. To mark its 50th birthday, an awareness week will run in October 2008 that aims to open up discussions with industry professionals to evaluate how the regulatory environment has changed.

8th May 2008

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