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45% of healthcare professionals not disclosing payments from industry

Published on 28/03/17 at 08:18am

The research organisation ABPI, alongside RAND Europe, has released a ‘snapshot’ of data, from its Disclosure UK database, from January of this year – finding that only 55% of healthcare professionals had disclosed payments or benefits received from the pharmaceutical industry.

As part of a wider push for transparency across the European pharmaceutical industry, the ABPI began Disclosure UK in June 2016. It runs a database of payments and benefits between the industry and healthcare professionals (HCPs) and organisations; the aim of such transparency is stated by the ABPI as being to ‘improve patient care’, by looking into the process of industry collaboration with HCPS.

Jon Sussex, Chief Economist at RAND Europe, said: "There were differences in how individual companies had interpreted the data request, which led to inconsistencies in the dataset. The impact of correcting these inconsistencies means that the proportion of healthcare professionals consenting to be named in the dataset in June 2016 was typically 55 per cent. The analysis showed no change to this figure for January 2017."

As mentioned by Sussex, RAND Europe had previously analysed a snapshot of data when the database first began in June 2016. The differences between the two sets of data found that though payments remained substantially undisclosed, research and development spending had increased by £254 million.

The boost in R&D spending is not enough to off-set the worrying trend for payments to HCPs and HPOs to remain undisclosed. At its launch, it was predicted that 70% of HCPs would disclose the payments they had received.

Mike Thompson, ABPI CEO added: "It is important for us to review and audit the Disclosure UK data in light of the greater transparency that we are trying to achieve and continually work to improve the information we are making publicly available. Our intent is to ensure that 100% of UK healthcare professionals who receive a payment or benefit in kind for the invaluable work they do with pharmaceutical companies in developing medicines and improving patient treatment gives their consent for us to publish their details.”

The figure of 100% seems a long way from present figures. It may be possible that this will be rectified in coming reports, as the ABPI noted that different companies interpreted how to input the data into the database differently – leading to skewed results. 30 June of this year will see details from of payments during 2016 released by Disclosure UK.

Ben Hargreaves

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