Reading Andrew Jack's article in today's FT I am struck by two things. The relationship between industry and the medical profession can only be addressed by both parties working together; and the UK industry, through changes in industry behaviours now reinforced by the ABPI Code of Practice and its focus on trust as a partner in the healthcare system, has made significant progress in evolving this relationship.


‚ÄčThe dynamic between companies discovering, developing and delivering innovative medicines to patients and the individuals prescribing those medicines is an essential element in advancing patient care. From clinical research, training and education to the role of a new medicine in the patient pathway, industry and health professionals' shared expertise and collaboration is what delivers better outcomes for patients.

The challenge for the medical profession and industry is to get our relationship right.

The industry in the UK has been working with the Royal Colleges and other medical bodies on evolving this relationship and is encouraged that the medical profession shares our appetite for change. The recently published joint statement by 15 leading healthcare organisations supports changes to the ABPI Code on the provision of branded promotional aids and greater transparency. The statement highlights all parties' commitment to driving this agenda forward.

From 1 May our reps will no longer provide branded promotional aids such as pens, pads and mugs to health care professionals. We don't believe that clinicians have been making decisions about prescribing based on freebies, but the changes are a strong symbol of an industry's desire to move away from the perception of a transactional culture between industry and clinician. We hope it lights the way to more profound change. Equally significant, we're going to collect and declare information about payments to health care professionals for services such as speaker fees, consultancy and sponsorship as well as declaring the number of health professionals a company works with. The first annual declaration of payments will be made in 2013 for payments made in 2012.

Patients benefit from industry and the medical professions working together to tackle healthcare problems. The onus is on industry and the medical profession to ensure the many positives of our relationship are not overshadowed by negative perceptions, even if inaccurate. The UK Industry is determined to ensure that it not only is it a partner in the development of new medicines and the delivery of care but that it plays an equal role in developing a new value system.

Andrew Powrie-Smith

ABPI Director of Trust and Reputation, Director of ABPI Scotland


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