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Campaign targets industry/healthcare professional relationship

By News team

Preventing conflicts of interest when healthcare professionals receive funding from the pharmaceutical industry is the subject of a new campaign, which also looks at protecting professional reputation.

The initiative comes from the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG), the 19 members of which include the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, the British Medical Association and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry.

The campaign challenges the continuing unease about the relationship between commercial sponsorship and healthcare professionals and comes just three months after GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty to bribing doctors to prescribe its products, in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history.

An online survey has been launched today (29 October 2012), marking the first step in the ESHLSG campaign. The survey will be seeking views from the members of the 19 stakeholder organisations of the ESHLSG about the pharmaceutical industry supporting medical education.

Payments should be publicly declared

Findings from the survey will be used to help identify partnerships that have value and should be maintained, and those that should be abolished.

The ESHLSG also wants to look at payments made to healthcare professionals by the pharmaceutical industry. It will be seeking views by the end of the year on its proposal that any payments should be publicly declared in order to improve transparency. The group also plans to consider how sponsored clinical trials can be more transparent.

Catherine Duggan, director of professional development and support at the RPS, said: "It's essential that all health professions work alongside the pharmaceutical industry for the benefit of patient care and public health. The adoption and diffusion of medicines innovation is also essential for our health service to remain world class.

"The RPS is working with the ESHLSG to maximise opportunities and minimise concerns around working together for the collective benefit of patients."

ABPI president Deepak Khanna, who is co-chairman of the ESHLSG, said the industry’s reputation has not always been the best and the ABPI is working to "turn things around".

He said: "This is a challenge, but the work of the ESHLSG is the next step in this process and we are confident that it will help us make significant strides that will ultimately benefit patients."

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal URI: 11110355

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