Drugs firms pay UK medics £40m in just one year

 

UK-based doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals were given £40 million by big pharmaceutical companies in just one year, figures suggest.

Both NHS and private staff were paid the sum for consultancies and sponsorships and other interactions with drug businesses in 2012, according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

The ABPI said it released the figures as part of it's "on-going transparency drive".

The money was paid to medics for "attending medical education events, support such as training and development, as well as fees for services such as speaking engagements to share good clinical practice and participation in advisory boards", a spokesman said.

In January, leaders from the medical and pharmaceutical industries announced that they are examining whether doctors who are paid by drug companies should should declare their dealings on a public register.

Disclosure of payments would be a "significant step" towards greater transparency between the industries, according to the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group.

The working group, which includes the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the ABPI, launched the consultation to see whether doctors themselves should declare payments.

The ABPI added that companies also plan to show how many healthcare professionals are on their payrolls.

"The industry is proud of its collaboration with healthcare professionals," said ABPI chief executive Stephen Whitehead.

"Working closely with healthcare professionals has helped the industry to consult with, and listen to, clinical expertise and develop medicines which are in the best interest of patients.

"Full transparency about these relationships is right and appropriate and we have taken the lead to make this a reality. By publishing these figures, industry's aim is to ensure these vital relationships are open and transparent.

"It is right that professionals are reimbursed fairly for the time and expertise they regularly provide the industry in developing the next generation of medicines."

PA

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