Doctors given assurances on educational events

Medicines Australia chief executive Ian Chalmers has assured doctors that their privacy will not be compromised by a soon-to-be-published report on medical educational events provided by pharmaceutical companies.

In an open letter published this week in Australian Doctor and Medical Observer, Mr Chalmers assured doctors that the disclosure of educational event information would not extend to naming attendees.

“The names of individuals have not been provided to Medicines Australia and will not be published on our website,” Mr Chalmers said.

Medicines Australia has been directed by the ACCC to publish every six months on the Medicines Australia website details of educational events and hospitality provided to healthcare professionals.

The first report will be published towards the end of March.

Mr Chalmers also assured doctors that the publication of the educational event report in no way implied any impropriety associated with those events.

“It is important for medical practitioners to be assured that the publication of these reports does not imply that the provision of timely information by pharmaceutical companies to the profession about what’s new in medicines is in any way improper,” Mr Chalmers said.

“We believe doctors’ participation in such educational events is legitimate and in the best interests of patients.

“On every occasion in which doctors meet with representatives from Medicines Australia member companies, hospitality must be provided in accordance with the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct. This Code sets a high ethical standard for these events.

“The number and aggregated cost of reported educational events are likely to be significant. This is to be expected given the importance of medicines in the fight against disease.

“Healthcare decisions affecting every Australian should be properly informed by the legitimate, valuable, ethical and necessary dialogue between those who make medicines and those who prescribe them.”


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Jamie Nicholson
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Phone: 0419 220 293