Level playing field in transparency needed

A common standard of transparency and accountability should apply across the therapeutics sector to all companies providing or sponsoring medical education, Medicines Australia chairman Will Delaat said today.

Mr Delaat’s comments follow the publication on Medicines Australia’s website of the latest education event reports, which show the detail of costs associated with educational events provided or sponsored by member companies.

“It is important that doctors’ relationships with pharmaceutical companies are based on integrity and transparency,” Mr Delaat said. “That is why Medicines Australia publishes these reports every six months.

“There is no such transparency elsewhere in the therapeutics sector.

“Companies which choose not to belong to medicines Australia have no obligation to publish the details of their engagements with healthcare professionals.

“There is no good reason why there should be one standard for Medicines Australia members and another, lesser, standard for non-member companies.

“There must be a consistent standard and I am encouraged that the Government has indicated its desire for a level playing field.”

The event reports published today show that healthcare professionals attended 31,007 hours of medical education provided or sponsored by Medicines Australia member companies.

The total cost of the 16,020 events was $31.89m, including $15.65m on hospitality.

The average cost of hospitality was $39.22 per attendee.

“Doctors continue to vote with their feet by attending these events because they derive genuine professional benefit from their engagement with pharmaceutical companies,” Mr Delaat said.

“Pharmaceutical companies take very seriously their responsibility to provide doctors with current, accurate and balanced information, which must be consistent with Government-approved Product Information.

“These engagements are legitimate, appropriate and, in the case of Medicines Australia members, transparent.”


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