Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Patient organisations, NICE, and conflicts of interest

ABPI guidance on drug companies and patient organisations

BMJ 2019; 364 doi: (Published 18 February 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;364:l740
  1. Jill Pearcy, director
  1. Code Engagement, Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, London SW1E 6QT, UK
  1. jpearcy{at}

I read with interest your article on patient organisations and conflicts of interest and agree that, collectively, we should be striving to ensure high levels of transparency in our relationships across the health sector.1 The relationships that drug companies have are valuable for the development of drugs and treatments that positively impact patient care. We are proud to share openly how we collaborate to this end.

The ABPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry is very clear on how drug companies are expected to carry out their relationships with patient organisations. These expectations are in place to ensure the independence of patient organisations, facilitate legitimate collaboration, and ensure transparency of financial and other support.

Disclosure UK is not, and has never been, the main mechanism through which companies are required to disclose payments to patient organisations. Disclosure UK is a publicly searchable database showing certain payments and benefits in kind made by drug companies to healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations.

Companies are required to disclose support and payments to patient organisations together with a description of that support annually on their own websites.


  • Competing interests: None declared.


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