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  • New tax year changes to pension costs and lost reliefs will affect employers and locums

    New tax year changes to pension costs and lost reliefs will affect employers and locums

    Friday, 13 April 2018 15:02
  • BMA resource advises on how to chase up 'burdensome' late practice payments from PCSE

    BMA resource advises on how to chase up 'burdensome' late practice payments from PCSE

    Friday, 09 March 2018 16:23
  • Government submits its evidence for doctor remuneration

    Government submits its evidence for doctor remuneration

    Wednesday, 31 January 2018 10:38
  • Winter pressures prompts relaxation of QOF requirements in Wales

    Winter pressures prompts relaxation of QOF requirements in Wales

    Tuesday, 09 January 2018 11:53

a board meeting imageJanuary 8 2018

The BMJ has been criticised for the tone taken in its article highlighting how clinical commissioning groups did not declare funding from private organisations.

Its report, ‘The pharma deals that CCGs fail to declare’, had the introduction: “GP commissioning groups have accepted hundreds of payments from drug companies that they have not disclosed to patients and the public.”

In an open letter to the BMJ, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, has accused the BMJ of being “grossly misleading”.

The response from Mike Thompson, Chief Executive at the ABPI, expresses his disappointment in the BMJ article “that inaccurately depicts the work of the pharmaceutical industry in the UK.

“Even more concerning is that the press release sent out by the BMJ to publicise the article was grossly misleading in its portrayal of the facts, leading respected national media to wrongly claim this research showed, ‘Pharmaceutical giants have bought tickets to sports matches and pop concerts’. Yet the BMJ must have known that these were from a catering company, a property company and a University – a point not made clear in their press release. Sadly, this is how fake news gets created,” he writes.

“The BMJ also knows that our Code of Practice prohibits the provision of gifts by industry. Yet this article talks about the ‘pharmaceutical gift cycle’ with no references, leading us to conclude that this an outdated perception.

“The ABPI Code reflects and extends beyond UK and European law. It sets very clear guidelines on appropriate interactions and collaborations between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare organisations and health professionals. There are also stringent rules governing the types of sponsorship for events, meetings and training, a fact that the BMJ reporting fails to acknowledge.”

Mr Thomson calls for the researchers to make a clear distinction between the pharmaceutical industry, and the actions of other private sector companies, and public sector institutions such as Universities. He also points out that the ABPI has developed ‘Disclosure UK’, the pharmaceutical industry’s disclosure database.

NHS Clinical Commissioners has also issued a statement. “Managing conflicts of interest in the NHS is not new. CCGs must have strong governance plans in place to maintain confidence in the probity of their own commissioning and how they are spending the NHS pound. NHS England have set out some very clear guidelines on managing conflicts of interest and as statutory bodies, CCGs have a clear responsibility to work within those guidelines.

“This BMJ investigation seems to imply that there is some wrong doing on the part of CCGs by working with external companies and pharmaceutical organisations, which we would strongly challenge. The NHS England guidance is clear, as are we, of the benefits to NHS staff and patients of securing the right kind of sponsorship for learning, development and networking opportunities. Having the ability to offset some or all of the costs of these types of activity, managed in the right way and following due process, means that CCGs can continue to make the best use of their limited budgets for frontline services for patients.”

Links:
ABPI statement                   
NHSCC statement              
BMJ article responses     
Today’s GP coverage of the BMJ’s CCG report        

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