Many medical professionals not willing to declare the money paid to them by drug companies

Doctors getting biggest payments from drug companies don’t declare them ; the UK General Medical Council says it can’t force them…

Last week the ABPI published the Disclosure UK database listing details of the fees and benefits in kind paid by the pharmaceutical industry to doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and healthcare organisations.

However, only healthcare professionals and organisations consenting to being identified were named, and the remainder of the information was published in aggregate form.

Doctors getting biggest payments from drug companies don’t declare them on new website, The BMJ 354/bmj.i3679, 01 July 2016.
Image via Truthout.

Data shows that only 70% of medical professionals in receipt of payments from companies agreed to have the data disclosed. However the 30% who did not agree to disclosure received 52% of the payments registered.

GMC says it can’t force doctors to disclose payments from drug companies, The BMJ 354/bmj.i3806, 07 July 2016.

The UK General Medical Council has admitted that it does not have the legal power to force doctors to disclose details of payments and benefits they receive from the pharmaceutical industry.

Will 2016 bring full transparency for drug company payments to doctors in the UK?

Will the ABPI central database go far enough?

Pharmaceutical firms currently pay about £40m every year to healthcare professionals, including doctors and pharmacists. These payments could be for anything from expert advice to sponsoring a healthcare professional’s medical education. Now, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has created a central database, going live in June, on which its member companies, and others that have signed up to comply with the ABPI code of practice, will disclose who these payments are made to, and for what. At the same time, Jeremy Hunt’s “sunshine rule” will make it mandatory for NHS staff to declare gifts received from drug companies.

Read: How much should patients know about pharma payments to doctors?, the guardian, 18 May 2016.

How will this new transparency affect the complex matrix of relationships between health professionals, pharmaceutical firms, the NHS and, most importantly, patients?

New transparency for drug company payments to doctors in the UK

Member companies of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) have amended the ABPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry to require increased disclosure of payments within the healthcare community

ABPI logo
Rebecca Coombes the BMJ, sums up the new UK system for public disclosure of payments from drug companies to doctors, made available by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Since the new year drug companies in the United Kingdom have begun recording any payments they make to doctors for certain services, such as chairing a meeting, in advance of plans to disclose the data to the public. This move echoes similar initiatives in the United States and the Netherlands designed to bring transparency to financial relationships between doctors, teaching hospitals, and drug companies. The information gathered over the next 12 months, and in subsequent years, will be uploaded to a publicly searchable database due to launch in July 2016… ”

Continue reading New year brings new transparency for drug company payments to doctors in UK, BMJ 2015;350:g7748.

Find more information about Disclosure of payments to individual healthcare professionals and Individual disclosure on the abpi website.