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EFPIA tells pharma companies to disclose doctor payments

Trade body publishes new code on HCP payment disclosure

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European pharmaceutical industry trade group EFPIA has published its code of practice for the disclosure of payments to healthcare professionals and organisations.

The new disclosure code requires all members of EFPIA (the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) to disclose all 'transfers of value' in 2016, starting with transfers made in the prior year.

The code was adopted by EFPIA's board at the organisation's general assembly last month and will require each member company to document and disclose on their websites the names of healthcare professionals and associations that have received payments or other transfers of value.

Member companies will also have to publish the amounts paid, and the type of relationship involved, such as consultancy fees, payment for travel or congress fees, said the trade body.

EFPIA director general Richard Bergström described the move as "an important step for our industry, as we demonstrate our commitment to transparency and secure the trust of the patients our industry serves".

Similar moves are afoot in the US where - rather than adopting a voluntary code of practice - pharma companies are being legislated into disclosure with the passage of the Sunshine Act, which from August will require manufacturers of drugs, devices, biological or medical supplies to report payments made to physicians on an annual basis.

Some national industry bodies are already meeting EFPIA's requirements. For example, in April the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) revealed that its member companies had made sponsorship and support payments of £40m ($61m) to healthcare professionals in 2012. The disclosure was made following an update to the ABPI's own code of practice in 2011.

Meanwhile, EFPIA also updated its healthcare professionals' code with a series of amendments at its June general assembly. There is new wording on the prohibition on gifts - either money or benefits in kind - and the updated guide notes that the value of meals and drinks should not exceed the threshold set by national member associations.

Informational or educational materials can be provided but must be 'inexpensive' - with the meaning of that term to be decided by EFPIA and member associations - as well as directly relevant to the practice of medicine or pharmacy and beneficial to the care of patients. Items of medical utility can be provided, but once again only if they are inexpensive.

The healthcare professionals' code amendments come into force on January 1, 2014.

3rd July 2013

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