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Greater transparency

Swiss pharma companies to publish payments online

From July, over 50 pharmaceutical companies active in Switzerland are set to reveal online how much they pay for health services and consultations.

The initiative, launched by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), is aimed at increasing transparency in the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors, and to reinforce public confidence in health services and research.

Each year, participating companies will now be required to post on their websites no later than June 30 the amounts they have paid to health professionals and organisations for services during the past year. Contributions to the cost of continuing education-related conferences and other professional events must also be published.

The move follows the adoption by the EFPIA of a code on publishing financial transfers in mid-2013, known as the EFPIA Disclosure Code.

In the strategy document, the EFPIA underlines the importance of interactions between the pharma industry and healthcare professionals, which it says can have a “profound and positive influence on the quality of patient treatment and the value of future research”.

But it says it recognises that interactions between the industry and healthcare professionals can create the potential for conflicts of interest.

In Switzerland, the organisation responsible for the code’s implementation at the national scale is scienceindustries.ch, the Swiss business association of chemistry, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. In coordination with other Swiss pharmaceutical associations, it wrote the Pharma Cooperation Code (PCC) to regulate interactions between pharmaceutical companies, doctors, pharmacists, hospitals, research centres and patients in Switzerland – particularly where financial transactions are concerned.

The PCC also requires pharmaceutical companies to contractually regulate their exchanges and collaborations with experts and organisations in the health field. This includes, for example, presentations, collaboration on advisory boards, or research and development activities.

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