New taskforce to develop greater transparency for payments to doctors

Medicines Australia has invited the AMA, the Royal Australian College of Physicians, the Consumers Health Forum and other key healthcare and consumer organisations to join a newly established Transparency Working Group.

The Transparency Working Group, to be chaired by Medicines Australia Board member Dr Dominic Barnes, will develop new measures to increase transparency of pharmaceutical company payments to healthcare professionals.

Medicines Australia chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw said the group would be asked to recommend what further transparency measures should be introduced that would best serve the community.

“The working group will evaluate the different models for further transparency and identify an effective mechanism for ensuring additional transparency of what is a vital relationship for the effective operation of the health system,” Dr Shaw said.

“Industry engagement with doctors and other healthcare professionals is important because patients want to be sure that their doctors know how to use the medicines they’re being prescribed.

“Transparency is critical because it builds public confidence in the valuable and necessary engagements industry has with consumers and healthcare professionals.

“Consumers and peak doctor groups support industry moves to further transparency, and that’s why we’re committed to it.

“There are a number of possible models for further transparency and the key task for the working group will be to recommend a model that is practical and provides consumers with the information they need.

“The Australian medicines industry is serious about improving the transparency of its payments to healthcare professionals, and we want this working group to identify the best way to do this.

“I am confident that by bringing together this broad-based group of health, government and consumer stakeholders, we will end up with a set of transparency measures that are meaningful and worthwhile for the community.”

The working group will meet monthly from September 2012 and will report to the boards of the working group member organisations by December 2013, with interim reports every six months.


Note to editors: The organisations invited to join the Transparency Working Group are: Australian Medical Association, Consumers Health Forum, CHOICE, Generic Medicines Industry Association, Healthy Skepticism, Office of the Australian Information commissioner (formerly Privacy Commissioner), Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Department of Health and Ageing, Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners, Royal Australian College of Physicians, and Royal Australian College of Surgeons. The managing directors of two Medicines Australia member companies have also been invited to join.

The Transparency Working Group’s terms of reference are available here

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