The vast majority of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and hospital specialists agree that payments from pharmaceutical companies to individual healthcare professionals should be transparent, according to new research by leading research consultancy ComRes.
A poll of more than 500 UK healthcare professionals (HCPs), carried out on behalf of the ABPI, shows that 87% believe payments from pharmaceutical companies to individually named healthcare professionals should be transparent, with around two thirds (64%) saying that this information should be publicly declared. A further two thirds (64%) believe this should be declared on a single, publicly searchable, central database.
The findings come just weeks before the ABPI publishes details of payments and benefits in kind made to UK HCPs and healthcare organisations (HCOs) on an online, publicly searchable database. These findings are in line with results of a similar survey conducted last year – highlighting healthcare professionals' continued support for greater transparency through initiatives such as the ABPI's.
"The relationships that the pharmaceutical industry has with healthcare professionals is vital for the development of new medicines and improved, effective patient care," said Dr Virginia Acha, Executive Director – Research, Medical and Innovation at the ABPI. "But transparency about these relationships – how we work together, what we do and what we are able to achieve in advancing clinical practice and medical innovation through collaboration – is important for patients and wider society.
"The publication of payment information is another step on our journey towards greater transparency - since 2012 we have been publishing details of the total amount paid to UK HCPs by industry.
"We are delighted that this survey confirms that the majority of healthcare professionals support this action and greater openness about our relationships."
The survey reveals that two thirds (66%*) of HCPs with a current relationship with one or more pharmaceutical companies for which they receive payment or benefit in kind say that they have already given or are likely to give permission to the pharmaceutical companies they work with to disclose their payment information on the ABPI database when it launches on 30 June. Four out of five (82%) of those HCPs working with pharma also intend to access the system to check their data and make sure it is accurate.
Although largely supportive of the publication of data, healthcare professionals are apprehensive about disclosing payment information; with 69% saying they have concerns about the process. The biggest concern is regarding misrepresentation of their data; with almost one half (49%) saying this would be a concern for them. This is closely followed by concerns regarding possible negative perceptions among the public (44%), data protection (43%) and potential media coverage (35%). Possible negative perceptions among peers is also a worry with one quarter (25%) citing this as a concern.
Notes for editors
*As only a small proportion of the sample of HCPs say they currently have a relationship with one or more pharmaceutical companies, the base size at this question is also small (n=77). These results should therefore be treated with caution and should be considered indicative rather than representative.
ComRes interviewed 508 healthcare professionals in the UK online between 15 March and 4 April 2016. The sample of respondents included healthcare professionals from throughout the UK:
Hospital specialists 127
ABPI Press Office
Telephone during work hours (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday):
+44 (0) 20 7747 7147 or +44 (0) 20 7747 1441
Telephone out of hours (5pm to 9am and weekends):
+44 (0) 20 7747 1445
About the ABPI
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.