• Stephen Whitehead

    Posted in category Opinion by Stephen Whitehead on 29/03/2012

    Promoting positive collaboration to improve patient health

Today, I am proud that we are one of 18 healthcare organisations to launch a new set of guidelines to promote positive collaboration between health organisations and the pharmaceutical industry.


Guidance on collaboration between healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industryThe publication comes as collaborative working becomes an increasingly important way for the NHS to address key health challenges in a constrained budgetary environment. And it represents a shift in trust between my own industry and that of healthcare professionals.

I am really pleased with the wide-ranging nature of organisations that have signed up, and the fact that the guidance has not only the support of the Department of Health here in England, but also the backing of the Scottish and Welsh Governments.

So what does the guidance actually address? Well, specifically, the statement:

  • Acknowledges that active collaboration can deliver better patient care and improved outcomes.
  • Clearly describes the current working environment in which pharmaceutical companies and health care professionals operate and the rules and regulations to which all parties must abide. 
  • Details in a 'Dos and Don’ts' section, every day, practical advice for those working in collaboration to improve patient outcomes.

I’ve been particularly encouraged by the way in which healthcare professionals have come to work together to develop the guidance – through the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group (ESHLSG). This Group is comprised of leading figures from the professional, representative and regulatory bodies to address issues which impact on the relationship between commercial organisations and health professionals.

But my focus for the guidance now is to make sure this is the only start and it isn’t simply left to collect dust.  I want this statement to help remove any unwarranted doubts or barriers to healthcare professionals exploring collaborative new ways of working and in the long run, I want it to change attitudes.  For this to happen, my fellow partners and I, involved with ESHLSG must promote the guidance to their staff as widely as possible. So the challenge, from today, is to put this document in the hands of private and public healthcare professionals up and down the country.


Stephen Whitehead
ABPI Chief Executive

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