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No to freebies, debate in the UK

Fourteen major healthcare institutions have backed changes to the UK Industry Code, which ban the giving of gifts to doctors and require pharmaceutical companies to provide details of payments made to experts who have attended events as speakers. The changes are part of the 'Trust Imperative' introduced by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (Abpi) in 2008 for the development of new working relationships between industries and 'white coats', in the name of transparency. The changes to the code of practice stipulate that, starting May 1, pharmaceutical companies will no longer be able to provide 'branded' gifts with their logo, such as mouse pads, pens or mugs, to health professionals. They will also be required to collect and report information about payments and other services rendered to physician-speakers and consultants. Finally, they will have to disclose the number of consultants employed and sponsorships for participation in meetings organized by third parties. The following signed the "endorsement" to the new rules: the president of Abpi Simon Jose; Neil Douglas, head of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges; Hamish Meldrum, board director of the British Medical Association; Ray Hill, president of the British Pharmacological Society; National Health Service Executive Director David Nicholson; Sue Hodgetts, administrator of the Institute of Healthcare Management; Mike Ramsden, administrator of the National Association for Primary Care; Hugh Mascie-Taylor, medical director of the NHS Confederation; Clare Gerada, head of the board of the Royal College of General Practitioners; Peter Carter, trustee of the Royal College of Nursing; Richard Thompson, president of the Royal College of Physicians; Neil Dewhurst, president of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh; David Tolley, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh; Helen Gordon, administrator of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain; Richard Horton, editor of 'The Lancet'.

Pharmakronos – March 3, 2011

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