As we pack up the stand after four fascinating days at the European Cancer Congress 2015, I have a little time to reflect on some of the conversations we have had on industry’s move to disclose publicly payments to health professionals.
The first observation is that despite the first disclosures being scheduled for the second quarter of 2016, there are still many individuals in the medical community and even some in the industry that are not yet aware of this transformational step in the relationship between industry and the health professionals we work with. We had a number of conversations with delegates that were hearing about disclosure for the first time. As an industry, and particularly from the EFPIA perspective, we will continue our focus on providing information about the rationale, process and implications of disclosure. We are providing more and more information online that can be accessed at www.efpia.eu/disclosure and you can follow the latest news and updates on disclosure through social media by following #pharmadisclosure.
It was clear from speaking to delegates that most information on disclosure to date has come from industry colleagues. It underlines the need to work with healthcare organisations and medical representative bodies to ensure their members have access to the latest most up-to-date information. I would like to credit ECCO in this regard for supporting our participation at ECC2015 to ensure that their members and delegates had the opportunity to discuss disclosure first hand. We are keen to work with other professional organisations to help disseminate information on disclosure to their members. If you are considering ways to update your own colleagues, members and fellows then please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The other subject at the forefront of delegates’ minds was the reaction of media, patients and wider public to the publication of payment data. The reality is that collaboration between industry and health professionals benefits patients. It is a relationship that has delivered numerous innovative medicines and changed the way many diseases impact on our lives. Yet it is not a relationship that is well understood.
Industry and health professionals collaborate in a range of activities from clinical research to sharing best clinical practice and exchanging information on how new medicines fit into the patient pathway and we have around six months to work together to put this data in context, to ensure that patients and society understand and can have confidence in the relationship between the industry that makes the medicines they rely on and the professionals that prescribe them. Working together for patients is a partnership and it is in partnership that we will best communicate to interested parties why the relationship exists and what are the benefits to patients, to clinicians and healthcare systems. At ECC2015 I heard some great examples of national pharmaceutical trade associations and physicians organisations coming together in support of transparency. We need to be proactive and positive in our support of open collaboration and if you would like to discuss how you could be involved then feel free to contact us.
Running the stand and hosting the Spotlight session at ECC2015 tested our knowledge of the EFPIA Disclosure Code, relevant legislation and national approaches. There were too many individual questions to relay in a blog but we were grateful to have our About the EFPIA Disclosure literature and the EFPIA Disclosure: Your Questions Answered documents to hand out to delegates. You can access both documents here.
Bringing greater transparency to this, already well-regulated, vital relationship is about strengthening the basis for collaboration in the future. Industry is being proactive, based on its commitment to this relationship. We understand that society has increasingly high expectations for transparency, none more so than in healthcare. We want to work with our health professional colleagues to ensure we meet those expectations going forward.2