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Feature Medicine and the Media

Industry sponsorship hits the headlines

BMJ 2016; 355 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i5585 (Published 19 October 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;355:i5585

Re: Industry sponsorship hits the headlines

We are disappointed and rather surprised by your article about the College’s Annual Conference in today’s BMJ.

To say my speech was ‘largely overlooked’ is incorrect - it received considerable coverage from national media on the day of the speech and was warmly received, with a standing ovation, from conference delegates.

On the issue of sponsorship, the RCGP – in common with other similar health and medical organisations, and indeed medical journals such as yours – has a robust sponsorship policy that is fully in line with ABPI guidelines. We have always reviewed our sponsorship arrangements periodically and are now planning to do this routinely.

Sponsorship by external companies generates income that is ploughed directly into our charitable work to support frontline GPs, such as our UK-wide Put patients first: Back general practice campaign. It also enables us to reduce the cost of delegate fees and offer bursaries and free places to trainees and other GPs who might otherwise be unable to attend.

This year in Harrogate, we specifically introduced a regulated and controlled access area, meaning that delegates could choose whether or not to engage with activities on the pharmaceutical stands. It should be noted that this area was not accessible by students or patient representatives.

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 October 2016
Maureen Baker
Chair of Council, Royal College of General Practitioners
30 Euston Square, London, NW1 2FB