Royal Pharmaceutical Society president Ash Soni says he supports the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s (ABPI) forthcoming launch of a public database that will disclose payments made to UK healthcare professionals by pharmaceutical companies, which is part of a Europe-wide initiative to improve openness and transparency.
The ABPI is due to launch the database on 31 July 2016, which will disclose payments made to UK healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations by pharmaceutical companies.
“I strongly support greater transparency around payments made by the pharmaceutical industry to health professionals and healthcare organisations,” Soni says. “This new database is a step in the journey towards greater accountability in the relationships between industry and the health professions.”
“Collaboration with the pharmaceutical industry is essential to driving innovation in medicines. It is important it’s fully understood that working with industry ultimately helps drive patient care. Lack of transparency and understanding contributes to lack of confidence in the healthcare professions and their interaction with industry,” he adds.
Since 2012, pharmaceutical companies have disclosed the number of healthcare professionals they work with, the total amount paid for fees for services and sponsorship to attend educational meetings. From 1 January 2015 pharmaceutical industries across 33 European countries started collecting data for certain payments made to individual healthcare professionals. Details of these payments will be published on a publicly available database on the ABPI website by 1 July 2016.
Patients will be able to search the data using a simple web-based search tool or download whole data sets enabling them to see payments made by companies to the healthcare professional treating them and will be able to find out what type of work the payment was for.
Before the database goes live, healthcare organisations and individuals will be able to check the data relating to them and raise any queries with the relevant company. The database will be updated on an ongoing basis by the ABPI.
“Payments made to me will be available to see on the database and I urge pharmacists to participate in this initiative and allow disclosure to further build the trust between us and our patients,” adds Soni.