The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has responded to a new report published today by Transparency International, titled 'Corruption in the Pharmaceutical Sector'.
Director of Research, Medical and Innovation at the ABPI, Dr Virginia Acha, said:
"Greater transparency and higher standards should be the goal for any industry, and particularly those responsible for delivering healthcare services to patients. This contribution from Transparency International maps out why this is so important, and we welcome that focus.
However, this publication sets out the challenges very clearly, but fails to reflect what is already required by regulation and delivered by companies around the world in meeting these obligations. For the UK in particular, the arguments set out appear to be both out of sync and out of date with our track record for how we research, conduct clinical trials, market and provide our medicines to patients and engage with healthcare professionals.
In addition to the comprehensive obligations and scrutiny of the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act, which have global application, ABPI member companies adhere to a strict Code of Practice around medicines marketing in the UK. In addition UK bodies such the MHRA and NICE ensure companies face intense scrutiny on medicines safety, efficacy and quality, including counterfeiting and clinical and cost effectiveness.
The ABPI continues to play a leading role in initiatives addressing some of the topics mentioned in this report, including on financial transparency, data sharing, clinical trial transparency and the fight against falsified medicines. With regards to the availability of research data, companies are obliged to publish all clinical trial results within one year of market authorisation, with over 90 per cent of all trials currently published (1) within that time frame and 92% within 18 months.
At the end of June this year, the ABPI will also deliver the UK's first searchable database of payments between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare professionals and organisations. Disclosure UK is another big step forward in increased transparency which will help the public to understand why pharmaceutical companies need to work with doctors, nurses and pharmacists in order to bring medicines into the NHS safely and responsibly.
The system for protecting patients in the UK is robust; the public can be assured that they are very well protected from the so called 'abundant examples' of corruption suggested in this report.
Somehow the report fails to take into account many of these positive initiatives, nor the ground-breaking work carried out by the industry every day to bring innovative medicines and treatments to billions of patients in the UK and globally."
(1) Clinical trial transparency update: an assessment of the disclosure of results of company-sponsored trials associated with new medicines approved in Europe in 2012. Bina Rawal, Bryan R Deane, doi: 10.1185/03007995.2015.104774
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The ABPI represents innovative research-based biopharmaceutical companies, large, medium and small, leading an exciting new era of biosciences in the UK.
Our industry, a major contributor to the economy of the UK, brings life-saving and life-enhancing medicines to patients. We represent companies supplying around 90 per cent of all medicines used by the NHS, and are researching and developing the majority of the current medicines pipeline, ensuring that the UK remains at the forefront of helping patients prevent and overcome diseases.
The ABPI is recognised by government as the industry body negotiating on behalf of the branded pharmaceutical industry, for statutory consultation requirements including the pricing scheme for medicines in the UK.