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Views sought on register to make Pharma payments public

Doctors are being asked for their views about a proposed public register of any payments they receive from commercial organisations.

The BMA is one of 20 organisations on the ESHLSG (Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group), which wants to explore how greater transparency can be achieved. It includes representatives from the medical royal colleges, the pharmaceutical, medical devices and diagnostics industries.

The three-month consultation, Establishing a Register of Payments Received by UK Healthcare Professionals from Commercial Organisations, asks whether people agree or disagree with the principle that payments should be transparent and publicly declared.

BMA ESHLSG representative Frank Wells said: ‘It is important that we have accurate financial information about the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and doctors.’

He added that greater transparency would encourage public confidence in collaborations between industry and the medical profession, which could deliver innovations that benefit patients.

Open accounts

Examples of payments that would be disclosed on the register include fees for: consultancy services, speeches at conferences, sitting on advisory boards, involvement in studies, clinical trials or training, and market research.

The register would also include financial sponsorship for attending independent medical education meetings, including travel and hotel costs, and registration fees.

The consultation is part of a drive by Europe’s pharmaceutical industry to disclose any payments and financial relationships made to individuals in 2015 on a public register available to view in 2016.

From this spring, UK companies will disclose total payments made to healthcare professionals and the number of individuals receiving payments in aggregate form.