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Pharmaceutical companies

Healthcare professionals want transparency around fees received from pharmaceutical companies

Most healthcare professionals believe that details of payments they receive from the pharmaceutical industry should be made known to the public, but there are concerns that the information could be misinterpreted, according to the results of a survey conducted on behalf of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

Research consultancy ComRes interviewed 508 healthcare professionals, including 127 pharmacists, ahead of the launch of the ABPI’s publically available database that will contain details of fees made by pharmaceutical companies to healthcare professionals and financial details of drug company sponsorship of medical education.

Some 87% of interviewees agreed that payments they receive from the pharmaceutical industry should be transparent and 64% said the details should be publically available on a single searchable database. But 49% are worried that the data could be misinterpreted, 44% believe the public might look at the information in a negative light and 35% are worried it could trigger bad publicity.

The survey results also suggest that 15% of the healthcare professionals interviewed currently work with a pharmaceutical company and receive payment for their services (77 of the 508 interviewees) and, of those, 66% say that they have already given or are likely to give permission for payment information to be disclosed on the ABPI database.

The results of the survey, published on 17 May 2016, were revealed weeks before the ABPI is due to launch its database on 30 June 2016. The database’s launch follows the June 2012 decision by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations — which represents the industry across Europe — that its members should disclose financial relationships with individual healthcare professionals and organisations by 2016.

The results of the ComRes survey were based on online interviews conducted between 15 March 2016 and 4 April 2016.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2016.20201175

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