The ABPI Code covers relationships with patient organisations in detail in Clause 27 and related supplementary information, including a checklist covering the minimum requirements for the written agreement that is required when a patient organisation works with a pharmaceutical company. The agreement must be certified, as set out in Clause 14.3.
The written agreement must include:
✔ Name of the activity
✔ Names of the organisations involved (pharmaceutical companies, patient organisations and any third parties which will be brought in to help)
✔ Type of activity (e.g. unrestricted grant, specific meeting or publication etc.)
✔ Respective roles of the company and the patient organisation
✔ Time frame
✔ Amount of funding
✔ Description of significant indirect/nonfinancial support (e.g. the donation of public relations agency time or free training courses)
✔ Statement that all parties are fully aware that sponsorship must be clearly acknowledged and apparent from the start
✔ Code or codes of practice which will apply
✔ Signatories to the agreement
✔ Date of the agreement
Companies should bear in mind that commercial structures can be complicated for people outside the commercial world to navigate. Representatives of patient organisations may have very limited time or resources to devote to administration, so it is really helpful if the company can provide a consistent, single point of contact and take time to smooth the path.