Trying to get a room of 30+ CEO’s to agree on a single point can be a challenge – in my experience, if you can get that many different companies to sign off on a single initiative, it’s a pretty big accomplishment. Knowing this, I am pleased to see the latest step forward as my industry comes together in its push towards transparency: EFPIA has now published on its website signed letters of commitment from more than 30 member companies, expressing their support of increased transparency of industry interactions with the medical profession.

Each member company’s letter indicates its commitment to the EFPIA Code on Disclosure of Transfers of Value from Pharmaceutical Companies to Healthcare Professionals and Healthcare Organisations. Formally launched this past summer, the Code requires all members of EFPIA to disclose transfers of value to healthcare practitioners (HCPs) and healthcare organisations (HCOs). This will begin in 2016, when companies will begin reporting all transfers from 2015. Following the Code, member companies will have to disclose on a publicly available website the names of healthcare professionals and associations that have received payments or other transfers of value, as well as the amounts of value transferred, and the type of relationship, such as consultancy fees, payment for travel or congress fees.

It is essential that the industry interact regularly with healthcare professionals and organisations. As the primary point of contact with patients, the medical profession can offer invaluable and expert knowledge on patients’ behaviour and management of diseases. This plays a big part in informing the pharmaceutical industry’s efforts to improve patient care and treatment options – and is essential to improving patient outcomes. A healthy working relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and HCPs/HCOs is in the best interests of patients. Of course, it is only fair to compensate HCPs and HCOs for the valuable insights and time they offer. 

But we recognise and understand the desire for greater transparency of these relationships. This commitment of EFPIA member companies is a significant indicator of our industry’s response to growing expectations for transparency. That is the motivation behind the EFPIA Code. This is something that we see as a common need and goal. We’ve made huge progress and I am optimistic about the next steps as we move ahead – because sometimes simply reaching that first decision and coming together as a group to take action is actually the most difficult step.