Created last year, the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG) has launched a new consultation on the payments made by pharmaceutical companies to healthcare professionals. With the US Sunshine Act having received its final approval for the first public declaration to be made on the 31st of March 2014 and the French law Xavier Bertrand about to be set up, it is time for the UK pharmaceutical industry to show its support for greater transparency of relationships between healthcare professionals and industry.
The consultation focuses on establishing a public register of payments made to healthcare professionals by commercial organisations. Should there be support for a single platform; the ESHLSG will then be looking into the technical issues of such a project.
From the 31st of March this year, pharmaceutical companies are already entitled to publicly disclose an aggregated amount of all payments made to healthcare professionals during events organised by third parties as well as the number of HCPs who received these payments. Individuals must not yet be named but recent talks at the EFPIA board have stated that European commercial organisations should display their relationships with HCPs by giving the names and precise amounts starting 2016 with the figures of 2015.
In its announcement the group stated that:
“Healthcare professionals and commercial organisations collaborate and interact in a range of activities from developing innovative treatments, sharing good clinical practice and delivering patient care. The group believes that the public disclosure of payments to health professionals represents a significant step towards fostering greater transparency and building greater trust between the medical community, industry and patients across the UK and Europe.”
The consultation is the first step in building an understanding of views on public disclosure across the medical community and life science industry. It is open for a period of three months and the ESHLSG is seeking views from members of the healthcare community which will inform how the system of declaration would work.
As Deepak Khanna, co-chair of the ESHLSG and President of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, stated: “the co-creation of a system to declare payments is the right course of action”. Thus it can be expected for the coming years that the UK pharmaceutical industry will be establishing a single platform for public disclosure and companies should be ready to provide figures that will restore confidence in the industry.
ESHLSG website: www.eshlsg.org/