• Press Office

    Posted in category News Release by Press Office on 28/01/2013

    Consultation launched to promote greater transparency between healthcare professionals and industry

The Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG), a group of 20 organisations (18 full members and two observing members) working together to improve the relationship between healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries, has launched a consultation on establishing a public register of payments made to healthcare professionals by commercial organisations.


Healthcare professionals and commercial organisations collaborate and interact in a range of activities from developing innovative treatments, sharing good clinical practice and delivering patient care. The group believes that the public disclosure of payments to health professionals represents a significant step towards fostering greater transparency and building greater trust between the medical community, industry and patients across the UK and Europe.

In June 2012, the pharmaceutical industry stated its ambition to work with the healthcare professional community to introduce a system of public disclosure of payments across Europe by 2016. Companies operating in the UK, will begin disclosing the total of payments made to healthcare professionals and the number of individuals receiving payments in spring 2013.

All healthcare organisations, commercial companies and individual healthcare professionals are being encouraged to complete the consultation questions online by visiting: www.eshlsg.org.

Sir Richard Thompson, co-chair of the ESHLSG and President of the Royal College of Physicians, commented:

"This consultation is intended to establish whether there is, in principle, support for a publically available, single, searchable system for disclosure of payments that is inclusive of all commercial life science organisations working in healthcare."

As part of its work in evolving the relationship between commercial organisations and healthcare professionals in the UK, the ESHLSG has considered and outlined a set of principles on which a model of disclosure could be established, and, in particular, how healthcare professionals and industry might work together in such a system.

Deepak Khanna, co-chair of the ESHLSG and President of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, commented:

"The consultation outlines ESHLSG’s vision of the principles behind how a system of declaration could work. It does not make recommendations about which payments to declare or cover, or make specific recommendations about the practical implementation of such a system. 

"Our view is that the co-creation of a system to declare payments is the right course of action and that it should be developed and agreed jointly by the relevant stakeholder groups. A move to greater transparency would address societal demands, represent an evolution in the relationship between commercial organisations and healthcare professionals and would support new ways of working in the future." 

Commenting, Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI said:

"The ABPI welcomes the new consultation launched today by the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG), which seeks the views of the healthcare community and the commercial healthcare sector on the important issue of payments to healthcare professionals. There is lots of work to do to lead us to individual disclosure and we need to hear views on the best way to implement a workable solution. Therefore, we believe this consultation will be an instrumental step in the co-creation and development of a system of disclosure and the move towards greater transparency."

The consultation is open for a period of three months and the ESHLSG is actively seeking views from all members of the healthcare community which will inform how the system of declaration would work.

Notes to editors


In June 2012 the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the body which represents the pharmaceutical industry across Europe, announced its ambition to work with the healthcare professional community to introduce disclosure of financial relationships beginning in 2016, for which payments made to healthcare professionals (HCPs) in 2015. 

From 31 March 2013, pharmaceutical companies in the UK will publish aggregate payments to healthcare professionals annually and the total number of healthcare professionals receiving such payments.

The consultation is the first step in building an understanding of views on public disclosure across the medical community and life science industry.


The Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG) is a multi-stakeholder group of 20 healthcare organisations (18 full members and two observing members). ESHLSG includes representation from the medical community and the pharmaceutical, medical device and diagnostic industries in the UK.

The ESHLSG was established to address the partnership issues that can impact on the relationship between commercial organisations and healthcare professionals, and ensure that the relationship meets the high expectations of all stakeholders, and patients in particular. It will do this by promoting positive, collaborative behaviours and addressing areas of reputational risk and vulnerability to healthcare professionals and commercial organisations.

The group’s objectives are to:

  • Promote positive collaboration between healthcare professionals and commercial organisations from the life sciences sector
  • Promote best practice in clinical trial reporting and publications across the research community
  • Identify and address any aspects of commercial organisations’ support of medical education activities that have the potential to cause reputational harm, either to healthcare professionals and/or commercial organisations
  • Increase transparency in financial relationships between commercial organisations and healthcare professionals.

The work of the ESHLSG is funded by an annual subscription from each partner organisation. 

The consultation on declaration of payments is funded by the members of the ESHLSG with additional financial support from the ABPI.

Contact details

For further information, please contact Andrew McCracken in the Royal College of Physicians press office:

Tel: +44 (0)20 3075 1354
Email: andrew.mccracken@rcplondon.ac.uk   



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