Re: Is the USA’s problem ours too?
16 October 2012
In her article, Dr McCartney makes several disparate claims about the pharmaceutical industry. She states that the financial relations between charities and the pharmaceutical industry are ‘unclear’ and implies the latter unduly influences the day-to-day activities of the third sector. In reality, companies are required to publically declare their financial transactions with charities and the nature of their relationship by the ABPI Code of Practice. Those who fail to meet their obligations are subject to sanctions of the PMCPA – the arm’s length administrator of the Code. In addition, charities are fiercely protective of their independence and wholly committed to the patients they serve – any malign influence is therefore fiercely resisted.
Secondly, medical representatives do, entirely legally, seek to engage with clinicians to educate them on the latest available treatments. There are strict rules as to how this is conducted. But I feel it is important that clinicians are offered the chance to learn about the newest and most innovative medicines, and then exercise their own judgement about their suitability for patients.
Finally, I think there is real value in co-operation and partnership between the pharmaceutical industry and the wider health community, despite some negative preconceptions. By working together we can significantly improve health outcomes, drive innovation and save the NHS both time and money in the process. Again, this should be, and is conducted with in strict guidelines that ensures commercial interests are secondary to the needs of patients. This drive towards closer working has not been pushed by the pharmaceutical industry, but by all healthcare stakeholders. In fact earlier in the year a range of signatories, including the DH and the medical Royal Colleges, approved a series of principles for working in partnership with the life sciences sector for the good of patients.
It may be fashionable to criticise the pharmaceutical industry, but we shouldn’t be quick to criticise the good work done to help people live healthier lives.
Competing interests: Chief Executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry
Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, Floor 7, Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 6QT
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