Barcelona, May 26th 2016.- Farmaindustria held in Barcelona today its Ordinary General Assembly, closed by the President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, during which both the annual activities report and annual accounts for 2015 were approved, as well as the budget for the current term, alongside a landmark without precedent in the field of transparency: the individual disclosure of all transfers of value made to healthcare professionals by the pharmaceutical companies adhered to Farmaindustria’s Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry.
For this purpose, Farmaindustria’s Assembly gave the green light to the amendment of the Code of Practice by which all companies adhered to it will inform healthcare professionals that transfers of value made from January 1st 2017 (to be disclosed in 2018) derived from their collaboration as far as education, scientific-professional meetings and services provision will be disclosed in an individual manner.
This evolution from the Code is endorsed by a report released in April by the Spanish Data Protection Agency which stated the legitimacy of the disclosure on an individual basis is supported by the currently in force European legal framework (Directive 95/46/EC), so that it will only be necessary to inform healthcare professionals that each transfer of value will be disclosed without being mandatory for the professional to sign a previous individual consent, which has been the process followed up to now for data to be published in June 2016 (corresponding to 2015) and 2017 (corresponding to 2016).
This is the reason why data from 2015 and 2016, in the case of healthcare professionals, will be disclosed in an individual or aggregated manner. The reason is the already mentioned previous individual consent which the industry has been requesting to healthcare professionals during this time, complying with the requirements of the Spanish Data Protection Law. Said consent could be signed by the professional on a voluntary basis. Thus, in the cases in which said consent was not granted the information will be disclosed in an aggregated manner.
The report from the Spanish Data Protection Agency has therefore changed the paradigm, and makes it easier for the sector to undertake the necessary changes to fulfill the maximum aspiration of this initiative: the individualization of all data.
The transparency initiative
The European initiative led by the sector was initiated in 2013 within the context of the European pharmaceutical industry gathered around the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). A year later, Farmaindustria transposed this initiative in its Code of Practices, agreeing that all transfers of value made by pharmaceutical companies to healthcare professionals and organizations would be disclosed with regards to education and scientific-professional meetings, services provision, R&D and, in the case of healthcare organizations (since only them are enabled to receive them), also donations. Each pharmaceutical company will publish the transfers of value in their websites in June every year, starting in 2016 with the figures compiled in 2015.
Antoni Esteve, President of Farmaindustria, stressed during the Assembly that “one of the most appreciated goods by our society is the medicine which is largely possible because of the tight collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry with healthcare professionals and organizations”. For this reason, Esteve remarked the importance of making this collaboration transparent, thus reinforcing these necessary relationships, based in rigor and independence.
In this regard, he also stated that “interactions between the parties generates a virtuous circle which is beneficial for everyone: healthcare professionals, since they can update and improve their knowledge base about medicines; the pharmaceutical industry, which in turn can make a better use of the clinical and scientific experience of healthcare professionals that is key for the development of research; healthcare systems, which are provided with professionals with avant-garde knowledge and ever improving therapeutic options and; most of all, patients and society, which are the ultimate receptors of said healthcare services”.
Though this is a pioneering step without precedents, this represents but one of all the measures that this sector is implementing in recent years as far as transparency is concerned: the disclosure of relationships with patients’ associations, clinical trials results, Autocontrol’s resolutions and the Mediation Agreements before the Code of Practice Deontological Commission are just some examples.
Such as the President of Farmaindustria acknowledged, transparency is “an honest and courageous bet which, with a first landmark represented by the disclosure of the first set of data in June, responds to a real improvement commitment which will be consolidated and streamlined in the near future”. Precisely, the amendment of Farmaindustria’s Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry is a good proof that this is a continuous improving process and that the aspiration in the individualization of date.
Esteve concluded by saying that the initiative currently faced by the pharmaceutical industry is a good evidence that the sector is aligned with the increasing society’s expectations about transparency, adding that it has already been very well received by such reputed organizations and entities as the Council for Transparency and Good Governance, Scientific Societies and Healthcare Professionals’ Associations.