New guidelines to promote positive collaboration between health organisations and the pharmaceutical industry have been backed by the ABPI.
Guidance on collaboration between healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry outlines best practice through a series of ‘dos and don’ts’ and highlights that active collaboration can deliver improved outcomes of care.
Stephen Whitehead, Chief Executive of the ABPI, says the document will “help assure professionals of the good work they are doing and make all sides aware of their responsibilities”.
The guidelines have been backed by several healthcare organisations, including the Department of Health, the Scottish Government and the Welsh Government. A number of royal colleges have also included their support.
Formulated by the Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group the guidelines clearly state the existing working environment in which pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals operate and the regulations they must abide to.
The ‘dos and don’ts’ in the document aimed at healthcare professionals towards the pharmaceutical industry include treating pharma as a healthcare partner, searching for and developing joint working opportunities and understanding the ABPI Code of Practice.
HCPs were advised not to expect or request any items which breach the Code or to accept any negative accusations or myths against the industry when cooperating, and not to tolerate any unacceptable practices from pharma.
Alternatively, pharma was encouraged to be clear on the objectives when collaborating with HCPs, to ensure all activities are in line with the letter and spirit of the Code, and to keep up to date with the requirements of the Bribery Act.
But the industry was warned against collaborating without demonstrating the value of the partnership to those who may know less about it, expecting healthcare professionals to participate in actions that are outside their professional code of ethics, and engaging in collaboration with HCPs without ensuring that there is a written agreement or contract in place.
“The NHS and pharmaceutical industry share a common agenda to improve patient care and clinical outcomes through high quality and cost effective treatment and care management,” said Stephen Whitehead.
“This collaborative way of working is becoming increasingly common and we already have many examples that show how effective it can be. The publication of this statement by a broad base of health organisations will help assure professionals of the good work they are doing and make all sides aware of their responsibilities. Ultimately, we hope this will encourage further collaborative working and in turn, greater strides will be made in improving the health of patients.”