The money the big pharmaceutical companies pay doctors and other healthcare professionals in grants, fees and expenses will be made public for the first time on June 30, the Cyprus Association of Research and Development Pharmaceutical Companies (KEFEA) announced on Wednesday.
The head of KEFEA, Kyriakos Mikellis, said that the initiative is part of the ‘Disclosure Code’ campaign, the European-wide initiative to enforce stricter self-regulation of the industry and boost transparency which has been launched by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), of which KEFEA is a member.
Mikellis said that by the end of June in Cyprus and throughout Europe, EFPIA member- companies will for the first time disclose information regarding grants to scientific organisations, consultancy fees for speeches and payment of costs for healthcare professionals to attend medical conferences in Cyprus and abroad.
These also include the cost of registration, accommodation, and travel to conference venues. According to EFPIA regulations, Mikellis said, scientific conferences must not take place in five-star venues, or spa and golf resorts, nor should pharmaceutical companies pay for first class air fare tickets for the health professionals it sponsors to attend such events.
“The first disclosure concerns activities and payments made in 2015,” Mikellis said. He added that the disclosures will be made in two ways, either by name, if the healthcare professional has given his or her consent in writing, or anonymously, if consent has not been given.
“Our aim is to boost the legitimate relationship and cooperation between pharmaceutical companies, healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations, boosting credibility through transparency and making it more comprehensible to patients and all relevant stakeholders,” he said.
Cooperation between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals, Mikellis said, is necessary for the exchange of best clinical practices and information on how new treatments can be developed and reach patients.
He said stricter provisions have been adopted for the interaction between medical representatives and healthcare professionals, the promotion of prescription medical products, the provision of pharmaceutical samples and scientific material and the hosting of healthcare professionals during scientific events.
Compliance with the code is compulsory for all KEFEA and EFPIA members active in Cyprus, Mikellis said. A five-member disciplinary committee has been set up to examine complaints and impose sanctions on companies that violate the code which is also supported by the Cyprus Medical Association.
KEFEA, which was founded in 2006, has nine members: GlaxoSmithKline, Lilly, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, SANOFI, AMGEN, GENESIS pharma, and AstraZeneca. They will all host links on the website, www.kefea.org.cy, to the disclosure platform of each company, on June 30.