Transparency of disclosure of payments is an opportunity to look again at how pharmaceutical companies operate and reconsider where there may be further scope for improvements, writes Waheed Jamal

Sponsored comment by GSK

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The words partnership and collaboration are often met with scepticism when it comes to the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare professionals (HCPs). At the same time, industry develops and delivers medicines to best meet the needs of patients with the advice and support of external experts and organisations.

Our industry’s work with HCPs happens within a strict code of conduct that means the activity must be legitimate and any fee must be reasonable and fair. It is only right that we pay HCPs for their services – as you would in any other industry.

But it’s also only right that we do this in a transparent and ethical way, especially as our industry deals with human health and well being.

Going public

That’s why, for the first time, the industry is publishing its payments to HCPs and HCOs (healthcare organisations) on a publicly searchable and downloadable database – so, from 30 June, anyone can see how much a doctor is being paid, and by whom. This move is not because anyone has necessarily been doing anything wrong, but is in response to society’s heightened expectations for transparency.

Waheed jamal

Waheed Jamal

Waheed Jamal

Patients should never need to question their doctor’s prescribing decisions because of any perception of conflict of interest

It is simply the right thing to do.

We see transparency of disclosure of payments as an opportunity to look again at how pharmaceutical companies operate and reconsider where there may be further scope for improvements.

This is only part of our package of reforms. From January, GSK became the first global pharmaceutical company to end the practice of paying doctors to speak about our prescription medicines and with disclosure we adopted no consent no contract policy.

When HCPs hear from an independent expert about medicines at congresses and meetings, they need to know what they’re hearing is truly independent. Likewise, patients should never need to question their doctor’s prescribing decisions because of any perception of conflict of interest.

By agreeing to disclosure, talking openly about the ways we work together and making changes where required, we will help dispel unwarranted perceptions. Then the words partnership and collaboration in healthcare will be associated only with scientific innovation and healthier patients.

Dr Waheed Jamal, MD, VP, Europe & Canada Region Medical Head, GSK