Industry data shows firms spent £363m on working with healthcare professionals
A sizeable minority of healthcare professionals (HCPs) have not consented to disclose payments received by pharma companies in the UK, according to the first data from the new Disclosure UK database.
The resource - set up by the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) with the help of RAND Europe - reveals that the industry spent a total of £363m on working with HCPs in its latest six-month 'snapshot', of which £254m was spent on R&D.
The remaining £109m was for a range of commercial rather than R&D activities, with nearly half of that money (£49.3m) going on a range of service and consultancy fees sponsorships and donations/grants, with the lion's share - some £39.1m - going on fees.
All told 55% of HCPs had disclosed payments or benefits received from the industry, a lower figure than the estimate of 70% originally put forward when Disclosure UK was launched in June 2016. The ABPI says this discrepancy has resulted from "inconsistencies in how the data was recorded", adding that the 2016 figure has now been recalculated and also comes in at 55%.
"The data from the companies is accurate, but recorded in different ways, which makes calculating industry-level information from the amalgamated data difficult," said the ABPI in a statement.
The Disclosure UK database shows payments from 109 pharmaceutical companies in the UK (54 of which are ABPI members), and updated details of payments and benefits in kind made during 2016 will be published on 30 June. It is part of a broader Europe-wide transparency initiative.
When the searchable online database was launched, the ABPI said it was a "milestone moment for transparency in our industry and for the vital partnerships we have with health professionals and organisations across the UK".
ABPI chief executive Mike Thompson reiterated that the intention is to reach a level where 100% of UK HCPs who receive a payment or benefit in kind are giving their consent to publish details.
"We will continue to work with the NHS, particularly in the light of their new conflicts of interest guidance which advocates disclosing on our database, to make this a reality. In the meantime we are working with our European colleagues to ensure that there are fewer possibilities for data inconsistencies in the future," he said.