abpi logoThe Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has today published for the first time details of payments or benefits in kind — made to doctors, nurses and pharmacists, as well as other health professionals and healthcare organisations in the UK on a publicly accessible database — Disclosure UK (www.disclosureuk.org.uk).

This new databsase, available to download on the ABPI website (www.disclosureuk.org.uk), shows payments from 109 pharmaceutical companies in the UK (54 ABPI member companies and 55 non-member companies).

The data shows that in 2015, industry spent a total of £340.3 million on working with health professionals and organizations, of which £229.3 million (67%) is for activities related to the research and development of new medicines. The remaining £111 million (33%) of non-research and development activities is grouped into payments made to individual healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations. These are as follows:

  • fees for service and consultancy and expenses associated with these fees (£46 million or 13.5 % of total investment)
  • registration fees and associated travel and accommodation (£14.8 million or 4.3%)
  • joint working (£3.3 million or 1% of total spend)
  • contribution to the cost of events (£31.4 million or 9.2% of total investment)
  • donations and grants (£30.3 million or 8.9% of total investment).

Typically, an estimated 70% of individual healthcare professionals are giving their consent for this information to be disclosed on a named basis. Companies spent an estimated average of £1550 per healthcare professional and around £9506 per healthcare organization. Individual recipients of the above payments can be searched on the database by a number of criteria including the name of the doctor, nurse, pharmacist, healthcare professional or organization and their professional address. The average amount invested per company is around £3.1 million. 84% of companies reported total investments of less than £5 million. Companies that paid more than £5 million spent, on average, 71% on research activities.

Mike Thompson, Chief Executive for the ABPI, said: “This is a milestone moment for transparency in our industry and for the vital partnerships we have with health professionals and organizations across the UK. These partnerships matter and help our industry bring the right medicine to the right patient at the right time so we can improve quality of life and, in many cases, save lives. Getting advice from doctors, nurses and health professionals across the NHS helps us do this; we can’t do it alone. We believe it’s right we pay for that expertise and insight, as this is work which health professionals undertake often in addition to their day job in the NHS.”

“We’re committed to transparency; we believe it’s right that the public has the opportunity to see some of the detail behind how we work with doctors, nurses, pharmacists and organizations to ensure life-enhancing medicines are developed for the patients who need them. Today, is an important step in sharing as much as of that information as we can.”

The publication of these data are now an annual requirement of the ABPI’s Code of Practice for the UK Pharmaceutical Industry and it is also part of a Europe-wide transparency initiative that has seen 33 countries make public these payments and benefits in kind this year.

Professor Sir Robert Lechler, President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, welcomed the launch of the ABPI’s initiative, Disclosure UK, and added: “Successful partnerships between industry, academia and the healthcare sector can speed up the rate of scientific discovery and innovation and they are key to accelerating the translation of research into benefits for society. However, many people are concerned about how these partnerships might compromise the integrity of research. That is why it is of the utmost importance that the nature of these collaborations and their impact on research are communicated to the public in a clear and transparent way. Disclosure UK is a welcome step towards creating the level of transparency and accountability that the public need to assess the trustworthiness of these partnerships.”