Pharmaceutical companies will begin disclosing payments made to individual health care professionals (HCPs) this summer. While Big Pharma anticipates that this voluntary initiative will be viewed positively by legislators as a welcome example of transparency, there is also concern that increased visibility of payments and hospitality made to HCPs could have a negative impact on the reputations of pharmaceutical companies.
To bolster the payment disclosure initiative, there is a clear appetite from MPs to prevent HCPs from opting out of publishing the details of transactions. Eight in ten (79%) say that it should be mandatory for all healthcare professionals to publish details of payment and hospitality received from pharmaceutical companies.
Pharmaceutical companies clearly have work to do to convince legislators that this self-regulation approach will be enough to safeguard public confidence in the relationship between Big Pharma and HCPs. Before the industry’s voluntary initiative lands in the summer, only about a third of MPs, mainly Conservatives, think that this approach is better than introducing further legislation to regulate the interaction of pharmaceutical companies with healthcare professionals. Furthermore, a quarter of MPs (23%), mainly Labour parliamentarians, believe that funding of HCPs in the form of hospitality, sponsorship and consultancy payments from pharmaceutical companies should be banned.
To prevent its payment disclosure initiative from falling flat, pharmaceutical companies need to demonstrate to sceptical MPs and consumers that:
the initiative will declare transactions with HCPs effectively
Populus surveyed 122 MPs on the Populus MP Panel in March and April 2016 by self-completion online and postal questionnaire.