Just 55% of healthcare professionals disclosing pharma payments

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Only 55 percent of healthcare professionals receiving a payment or benefit in kind from the pharmaceutical industry in 2015 gave their consent for their details to be published on Disclosure UK, a new analysis by research organisation RAND Europe has revealed.

Initially it was estimated that around 70 percent had given their permission for payment details to be published on the website, but a recalculation to correct for inconsistencies in how the data was recorded has since thrown up a much lower figure.

Launched in June last year, Disclosure UK is a publicly accessible, searchable online database of payments made by the pharmaceutical industry to UK healthcare professionals and organisations to improve patient care, under a broader European initiative of increasing the transparency of such relationships.

In a 2016 poll carried out for the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), 87 percent of more than 500 UK healthcare workers surveyed backed the disclosure of payments from pharma companies to individually named healthcare professionals, with around two thirds (64 percent) saying that this information should be publicly declared.

However, a significant chunk – 26 percent – felt disclosure of payments to individually named HCPs is unnecessary, and 24 percent feared the move would adversely affect medical innovation, while 26 percent also felt their relationships with pharma companies would change as a result.

“Our intent is to ensure that 100 percent 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,” said the ABPI’s chief executive Mike Thompson.

“We will continue to work with the NHS, particularly in the light of their new conflicts of interest guidance which advocates disclosing on our database, to make this a reality. In the meantime, we are working with our European colleagues to ensure that there are fewer possibilities for data inconsistencies in the future.”

Meanwhile, the analysis of the database six months post launch has also revealed a slight increase in industry spending on research and development activities.

According to the data, industry spent a total of £363 million (compared to £340.3 million recorded in June 2016) on working with health professionals and organisations, of which £254 million (£229.3 million in June 2016) is for activities related to the research and development of new medicines.

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