Madrid, January 24, 2016.- The individualized publication by pharmaceutical companies on their collaborations with health professionals, further strengthens the commitment to transparency that the innovative pharmaceutical industry has been working on for years and celebrated one of its milestones last year, with the publication of all this activity by the companies. This was revealed today at the First Conference on Transparency in the Pharmaceutical Sector, organized by Transparency International Spain and FARMAINDUSTRIA and held in Madrid.
The conference focused on the meaning and challenges of transparency in modern society and in particular in the pharmaceutical sector, following the pioneering initiative of self-regulation of innovative industry in Europe, adopted in 2013, and in Spain’s case, the following year in the Code of Good Practices of the pharmaceutical industry which was finalized in June 2016 with the first publication of data. This publication will be repeated annually in June and includes four main concepts: donations (in this case only health organizations, not individual persons), support for training activities and scientific-professional meetings, remuneration for professional services and collaborations in R&D.
Experts from institutions such as the Council for Transparency and Good Governance (CTBG), the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD), the Spanish National Authority for Markets and Competition (CNMC) and the Supreme Court, have discussed together with representatives of the Administration Health, scientific societies, the pharmaceutical industry and Transparency International Spain, the implications of this initiative and the new steps that they will need to tackle.
In this sense, those responsible at farmaindustria were reminded that all the collaborations that the laboratories have done with healthcare professionals since last January 1st, will be published in an personalised way in June 2018, as reflected in the latest update of the Code of Good Practice on the pharmaceutical industry. This update occurred last year, after a report the Spanish Data Protection Agency (AEPD) issued in April.
Support from the Spanish Data Protection Agency
It should be remembered that, at first sight, and in compliance with the Law on Protection of Personal Data, the publication of individualized data had been accepted and, in cases where the beneficiary professionals did not give their consent, in aggregated form. The declaration from the Spanish Agency for Data Protection, which puts first the general interest of the individual regarding the publication of this information, maintains that to do so, it will suffice to inform the professionals in the contracts or documents that formalize their relationship with the laboratory. The Agency does, however, require that the publication of individualized data serves no purpose other than that pursued by the initiative and therefore suggests that the indexing of information published on websites through search engines should not be facilitated.
“The aspiration of the process is the total individualization of the data,” said the General Director of FARMAINDUSTRIA, Humberto Arnés. “Since the objective is to show the value of the collaboration between industry, organizations and health professionals, and the rigor and independence with the one that is produced; the report of the AEPD allows us to advance and perfect a living process that must be constantly evolving.”
In any case, the individual publication of value transfers is only one of the pillars on which the policy of transparency is based, which in the last three years the innovative pharmaceutical industry has been developing, and is centred on in the Code of Good Practice.
In this sense, as the Director of the Surveillance Unit (USD) of FARMAINDUSTRIA, José Zamarriego, has indicated, the Code is part of a robust Self-Regulation System that guarantees that the behaviour of the laboratories is governed by the strictest ethical principles of responsibility and professionalism.
Publication of opinions and resolutions
This system includes other elements linked to transparency, such as the establishment of criteria to be met by industry to collaborate in educational activities and scientific-professional meetings of health organizations and the publication of relations with patient associations, mediation before the Deontological Commission and the resolutions issued by the Jury of “Autocontrol” (Association for the Self-regulation of Commercial Communications). All of the above is available for consultation by anyone interested on the webpage www.codigofarmaindustria.org.
In the course of the day, with the presence of more than two hundred attendees and broadcast via the website of FARMAINDUSTRIA (www.farmaindustria.es), the growing demand for transparency on behalf of society, demands more and more information from companies about their activities and impacts, and also about their relationship with different stakeholders.
In this sense, FARMAINDUSTRIA accepts responsibility for the particularly sensitive area that is the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, and from that perspective explains the sector’s commitment to transparency. “The positive reception that our initiative has had from institutions such as the Transparency and Good Governance Council and Transparency International Spain encourages us to persevere,” said Humberto Arnés. Transparency implies trust, because it dispels the doubts generated by opacity. It will be positive for the health sector, for its professionals and, above all, for patients and society in general”.