Greens jump the gun on review of Medicines Australia Code of Conduct

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw today made the following statement in response to comments by the Greens Senator Richard Di Natale:

“The ongoing dialogue between doctors and the medicines industry is critical to patient health and safety.  It is a vital part of the health system and so it is important that those relationships are ethical, appropriate and stand up to public scrutiny.

“Medicines Australia has now almost completed an 12 month review of its Code of Conduct, which sets the rules for these relationships.  This review is an extensive process and is followed by a six month review by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission which is about to commence.

“That is why it is particularly disappointing that the Greens have effectively pre-empted the ACCC review.  The Greens’ remarks also prejudge the consultation the industry has undertaken with patient organisations, doctor groups and the broader community.

“Our track record shows that this consultation has led to the Australian medicines industry today being one of the world leaders in ethical behaviour.

“The Code of Conduct already bans lavish hospitality, entertainment, gifts and other inducements, and these were banned years ago.

“We are serious about maintaining an ethical industry that adds value to the role doctors play in treating patients and curing disease.

“The relationship between the medicines industry and healthcare professionals needs careful consideration to ensure we get the most effective outcome for patients, doctors and the industry.  That is why the Code review process is so important and why we are taking it very seriously.

“Banning the interaction between medicines companies and doctors will actually just end up being bad for patients because their doctors will find it harder to stay informed of the latest treatments.”


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