The pharmaceutical industry’s primary obligation is to ensure that the medicines it produces benefit society. Medicines can have a critical impact on individual well-being and for this reason, relationships with those who prescribe, dispense and use medicines must be conducted to the highest standards. Towards this end, EFPIA’s members are bound by a code of practice governing these exchanges. A new charter has been developed to further address the f perceived conflict of interest and lack of transparency in relationships between the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community, payers, regulators, patient groups and governments.
In order toensure that medicines are safe and effective, the pharmaceutical industry works together with patients, healthcare professionals and regulatory agencies. Collaboration with physicians is an example of crucial interaction during the innovation process. To protect patient interests, this interaction must exclude unnecessary non-scientific activities. Today, expectations placed on the pharmaceutical industry are increasing. This requires changes to ensure that professional and meaningful relationships with stakeholders are improved by providing transparent data and ensuring ethical practices across the pharmaceutical industry.
EFPIA recognises and supports the benefits of transparency in relation to support an informed society with informed patients. Trust is not just something the industry communicates; it has to be earned through industry action. That is why Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a public private partnership between the European Commission and EFPIA, funded the European Patients Academy on Therapeutic Innovation (EUPATI) consortium. The academy offers comprehensive information to patients on medicines research and development. The result? Well-informed patients and patient organisations can be effective advocates and advisors in medicines research.
EFPIA is entering into a dialogue with all relevant stakeholders, including physicians, hospitals and patient groups, to identify how the industry can achieve greater transparency to better reflect the values already enshrined in efpia’s codes of conduct. The e4ethics platform openly provides information about educational events to ensure that pharmaceutical companies conduct such promotion and interactions with prescribers in a truthful manner, avoiding deceptive practices and potential conflicts of interest with healthcare professionals, and in compliance with applicable laws and regulations, including the EFPIA HCP Code.
EFPIA has been supportive of Commissioner Tajani’s initiative on Corporate Social Responsibility in the pharmaceutical sector. Furthermore, EFPIA works with the European Medicines Agency and the European Heads of Medicines Agencies to develop responsible transparency, and is involved in the EMA’s activities on clinical trials data transparency, which should see guidelines introduced in 2014.
"Through collaboration, we must find better ways to share data and new ways of working together. We must find a balance between when it is appropriate to share data and when it is not. After all, we will not be able to continue our work of bringing benefits to patients unless we are also able to derive suitable commercial return from our ideas."
Neil Weir, Senior Vice of President of Discovery at UCB Pharma and member of EFPIA's Research Directors Group.