One of the stated principles of the ABPI Code of Practice is that “working with patients and patient organisations can bring significant public health benefits.” Our publication, “Working with patients and patient organisations: a sourcebook for industry”, introduced in 2019, was designed to help companies with that aim and gives practical guidance to support relationships that are in the interests of patients, and within the law and the ABPI Code of Practice.
In responding to the global outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), industry and patient organisations alike are working flat out to improve public health and are looking to build on their collaborations or put new ones in place. At the same time, many routes to funding and support for patient organisations and health charities have been disrupted, adding to the enormous challenges for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 activities.
Against this background, we thought it would be helpful to summarise some practical guidance from the Sourcebook, with the aim of supporting companies to work compliantly with patients and patient organisations. This extract covers the areas of principles and agreements; events and meetings; payment; and identifies some new guidance issued since the Sourcebook was published .
In building strong partnerships, it is particularly important that all parties are transparent about the reasons why they may decide to go ahead or not with an activity, including the approach to compliance. It can be a source of confusion for patient organisations to be given different decisions from different companies, all citing the ABPI Code as the rationale, so if the underlying reason is a company’s individual standard operating procedure or approach, this should be made clear.
We would like to thank all contributors to the Sourcebook from industry and patient organisations.
 Note: While this guidance and the ABPI Patient Sourcebook aim to provide useful informal guidance, following them does not ensure compliance. Companies need to ensure they comply with all aspects of the ABPI Code.
The ABPI Code covers relationships with patient organisation and the pharmaceutical industry.
Clause 22 of the ABPI Code, which covers meetings for health professionals and other relevant decision makers, also applies to pharmaceutical companies supporting patient organisation meetings. It provides detail on what is considered appropriate.
While there is a strong public health rationale for engagement, any relationship between patient organisations and the pharmaceutical industry can be perceived as commercially motivated.
The IFPMA has this year issued a Note for Guidance on best practice for interaction with patients, caregivers, and patient organisations, which may also be helpful.