A Healthy Relationship

 

Last week the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) announced measures paving the way toward the disclosure of industry payments to healthcare professionals and organisations (HCPs and HCOs).

A new code of practice requires all EFPIA members to disclose payments made to HCP's and HCO's in 2016, for 2015 activities covered under the new rules.

The Code outlining the specific requirements can be found here.

Lilly has made a firm commitment to adhere to these new rules and undertake new measures safeguarding the transparency of relationships with healthcare professionals.

However, some still question why we need to have the relationships we do with healthcare professionals and organisations. Why do we have any financial transactions with HCPs and HCOs at all? Well, in short, patients benefit enormously from the collaboration between healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry through the development and appropriate use of innovative treatments that improve and extend life. As an integral part of the medicines development process, it is entirely appropriate that fees are paid to healthcare professionals to reimburse them for their time and expertise.

Healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical companies have always worked closely together, you could say ever since the early origins of the industry. The two are inextricably linked. Without strong ties, medical innovation and advances would simply not reach their full potential. From early scientific research and clinical trial programmes, to the use of medicines in the patient pathway, this healthy relationship has many key connecting and collaborating touch-points.

Working with healthcare professionals and healthcare and patient organisations helps us develop innovative medicines, improve health education and better understand patients' needs. Without our joint efforts, new medicines could never reach the millions of patients who need better treatment options in a range of therapy areas, including cancer, diabetes, depression and Alzheimer's.

But this new Code does represent a clear opportunity for the industry to re-evaluate its interactions with the healthcare community. Lilly continually reviews its policies and procedures for engaging with HCOs and HCPs to ensure practices are fit for purpose and meet with societal expectations. It's important we maintain the public's trust in our interactions with all aspects of the healthcare chain. We very much recognise the importance of our relationships with healthcare professionals and patient groups, but they must continue to reflect today's economic and social climate.

This is a belief echoed by Richard Bergström, Director General of EFPIA: "We know that by making this a success, we can improve the relationship between industry, HCO's and HCP's in a way that ultimately benefits the people that all three of these stakeholders aim to serve - patients."

Ultimately, disclosure of the relationships that exist between the healthcare community and the industry can help in facilitating greater understanding and accountability to the people and patients we serve, and this is certainly something we welcome.

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The EFPIA press notice announcing the new Code can be found here.

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