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UK HCPs back transparency over their pharma payments

Survey comes as pharma companies prepare for payment disclosure database
Pharma - HCP payment transparency

A poll of healthcare professionals (HCPs) in the UK has found that a majority believe payments made by pharma companies should be made public.

The survey of more than 500 doctors, nurses, hospital specialists and pharmacists, commissioned by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), indicated that 87% of respondents felt payments should be transparent.

The finding comes as pharma companies in Europe prepare for the implementation of payment disclosure database - spearheaded by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) - that is due to come into effect by June 30, 2016. Under the lead of the ABPI, UK drugmakers have been disclosing aggregated (anonymous) data on payments made to HCPs since 2012.

The initiative in Europe is led by the industry, unlike the US where the Physician Payment Sunshine Act implemented a federally-mandated disclosure requirement, with the first figures published earlier this year.

The pharma-led system requires disclosure with HCP consent because of data protection and other laws, according to an EFPIA question and answer document, while in the US all payments above a certain threshold must be disclosed. Unlike the US model it also does not cover payments made for R&D purposes.

However, in Europe there is also a drive towards legislative disclosure requirements, with France, Portugal, Denmark and the UK all implementing new laws that will make disclosure of payments mandatory, regardless of HCP consent.

The ABPI's poll found that 69% of HCPs with a current relationship with one or more pharmaceutical companies say that they have given or are likely to give permission for pharmaceutical companies they work with to disclose their payment information.

Around a third (32%) of those surveyed felt it was unnecessary to declare payments from pharma companies to individually named HCPs, and one in four(26%) said declaring these payments will adversely affect medical innovation.

While the majority (75%) of HCPs said the new policy will have no effect on their relationship with pharma companies, 23% of GPs say that they will be less likely to work with industry in future, a higher proportion than hospital specialists (17%), pharmacists (10%) or nurses (6%).

Dr Virginia Acha, executive director of research, medical and innovation at the ABPI, said: "In any other industry, it is expected - and even applauded - when innovators work with users of their products and services to make progress.  We believe this is also true for medicines.

"We are proud of the high-quality working relationships we have with HCPs in the UK," she continued.  "However, it is important to make sure these relationships are transparent." 

Article by
Phil Taylor

13th October 2015

From: PME

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