Feature Competing Interests

Bring me sunshine: EU drug companies make payments to doctors public

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4342 (Published 05 July 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f4342
  1. Andrew Jack, pharmaceuticals correspondent
  1. 1Financial Times, London, UK
  1. andrew.jack{at}ft.com

US companies will soon be required to disclose information on payments to doctors. Andrew Jack looks at whether new European measures carry enough teeth

The European pharmaceutical industry has pledged to release details of the payments it makes to doctors and healthcare organisations by 2016, in the latest move towards bringing “sunshine” to funding arrangements that critics argue distort prescribing practices.1 The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, the Brussels based trade body, says all of its members will be required to make public on websites their payments to each individual doctor made during 2015 by early the following year.2

Richard Bergstrom, the federation’s director general, insisted that the move reflected growing calls for transparency but was not a response to external pressure or fear of EU-wide legislation. It followed more than two years’ work developing a consensus among his members. It comes at a time of growing debate and research suggesting that even modest payments and incentives to doctors can influence their choice …

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