ABPI Event Brings Together Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Professionals Ahead of Disclosure UK Launch


Leaders in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors joined Life Sciences Minister, George Freeman last week to discuss increased collaboration between the two industries ahead of the Disclosure UK launch.

The event, hosted by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) in partnership with the Guardian newspaper’s Healthcare Network, attracted an audience of over 50 top executives from leading healthcare companies. Freeman took the helm of what is hoped to be the first step in achieving greater unity and transparency between pharma and healthcare industries.

The event was staged in view of the looming prospect of Disclosure UK on the 30th June. The database will make the details of payments, benefits and subsidiaries assigned to individual healthcare professionals available for access the general public. It comes in response to a decade’s worth of controversy over expenses and is hoped to restore public faith in the NHS. The database will also mark the realisation of Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt’s sunshine rule which will make proper financial disclosure mandatory for all healthcare and pharma businesses.

The database itself will display anything from details paid for consultancy and advisory services, to fees for public speaking, sponsorship deals, education and training expenses, as well as human resources. Details require full consent from the individuals concerned in order to be published. The general public will be granted full access to Disclosure UK and will be able to search locations or individuals, or download the full data set.

As well as George Freeman’s keynote, the audience also enjoyed a panel which examined the current relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare professionals. The panel was chaired by Sarah Bosley, Health Editor for the Guardian, and invited the thoughts of panelists including: Nikki Yates, Senior Vice President UK and Ireland Pharmaceuticals and UK General Manager for GSK; Ash Soni, President of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society; Eric Low, Chief Executive of Myeloma UK; Dr Graham Jackson, Co-chair of the NHS Clinical Commissioners and Clinical Chair of Aylesbury Vale; and ABPI’s very own Dr Virginia Acha.

During his keynote address, the Life Sciences Minister stressed the importance of transparency with the NHS, pointing out that the system is funded by the tax-payer and thus tax-payers are entitled to know where or how their money is being spent. He insisted that relationships between pharmaceuticals firms and healthcare professionals must be effective and unambiguous, echoing the thoughts of Jeremy Hunt. Freeman added that it is both what the public expects and what […] the NHS deserves.

Nikki Yates, Senior Vice President UK and Ireland Pharmaceuticals and UK General Manager for GSK expressed her agreement with his comments and added the collaboration was the key to developing progressive and highly effective treatments and medicines. She went on to assert that Disclosure UK is fully supported by GSK, adding that the public should go out of their way to support those businesses operating transparently and by the principles of nothing to hide.

Very much in concurrence, Dr Virginia Acha, Executive Director, Research, Medical and Innovation at the ABPI said that in order for innovation and collaboration to be effective, further solidarity between doctors, nurse and pharma business was needed – particularly in view of the launch of Disclosure UK.

ABPI will play a crucial part in realising the ambitions of the MP and the association plans to further foster positive relationships between its members as well as promoting their work to the general public.

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