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Plans for a central database holding information about payments made by pharmaceutical companies to doctors will be finalised this month. The public database will be accessed through the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industry’s (ABPI) website and will be developed after changes are agreed to the association’s Code of Practice at the November annual general meeting, the ABPI has informed BMI SYSTEM.

The proposed changes to the ABPI Code of Practice will come into force on the 1st of January 2015 with a transition period for the newly introduced requirements until the 1st of May 2015. The changes call for companies bound by the Code to use a central searchable database for recording payments made to doctors and healthcare organisations for benefits in kind, fees for services, contributions towards events and joint working, in addition to the current requirements to disclose grants and donations. The aggregate spend on certain research and development (R&D) projects will also be disclosed. Companies will be required to record their payment data on a template that can be found on the PMCPA (Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority) website by using a secure log in that allows them to access the site and upload their data.

The template itself has been based on the EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) template and incorporates changes needed to reflect the requirements of the ABPI Code and which allow the data to be collected in a form suitable for a searchable database. The database will then be able to be accessed through the ABPI website by the general public. Users will be able to search the database by a variety of fields such as first name, last name, HCO, place of work, principle practice or company.

The finalised template and the changes to the Code mandating use of the central platform will be published in November after the AGM has taken place.

According to Andrew Powrie-Smith, Director of the ABPI, the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and HCPs in the UK is something we should be proud of. “It is a relationship that has helped develop many lifesaving medicines and has long been a positive driver for advancements in patient care and the progression of research. In fact, one eighth of world’s most popular prescription medicines were developed in the UK as a result of collaboration with HCPs”.

The move towards more transparency will mean that in 2016, the UK will join over 30 other countries in Europe who will publish their payments data publicly.

For more details on the amendments to the ABPI Code, please click here.  

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The author

Ruth KnowlesRuth Knowles is a freelance science writer who has written articles and press releases on a range of life science and health topics. She received her MSc in Science Communication from the University of the West of England, Bristol.

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