CEP calls for UK Sunshine Act to highlight payments made to doctors

Today the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry calls for the implementation of a UK Sunshine Act to make transparent the financial relationships between doctors and pharmaceutical companies & the makers of medical devices.
It would be similar to the The Physician Payments Sunshine Act in the United States which was implemented by the Obama administration August 2013, and which requires all payments exceeding $10 to be disclosed via a publicly accessible website.  Equivalent legislation also operates in the France, Australia and the Netherlands.
This call by CEP is a response to long-held concerns regarding the biasing effects of payments to doctors via consultancy fees, speakers’ fees, honoraria, shares/stock options as well as research funding.
While it has long been known that financial ties with industry can unduly influence medical practice and research, there is no legal obligation for UK doctors to report how much income they receive and from whom. There is however a voluntary register of interests (the ABPI register), but the lack of legislation means that not all payments are recorded and it is impossible to rely on this data when investigating industry ties.
A UK Sunshine Act should be considered a positive step forward for both patients and doctors, as it will enable both groups to understand better the relationships between key opinion leaders and drug makers. However while such an act will serve as a deterrent to inappropriate financial relationships between doctors and industry, we accept that it will be insufficient to counter other conflicts of interest.
A new act should therefore work alongside other measures to be truly effective.  For example there should be a prohibition of gifts and commercial sponsorship of doctor training events; the banning of pharmaceutical industry representatives and drug samples from clinical settings; the requirement for conflicts of interest to be declared in relevant settings (for example in news articles); regulatory structures that are independent of industry influence.
Dr James Davies, co-founder of CEP, says: ‘We place great trust in our medical and healthcare professionals, and this trust is usually justified. However we know from previous research that payments from industry can influence medical practice. For this reason we are calling for full public disclosure of such payments via a UK Sunshine Act to help ensure that anyone needing care receives unbiased & impartial advice and treatment.’

12 Responses to CEP calls for UK Sunshine Act to highlight payments made to doctors

  1. kiwi 06/08/2019 at 8:31 am #

    Good call.

    “This call by CEP is a response to long-held concerns regarding the biasing effects of payments to doctors via consultancy fees, speakers’ fees, honoraria, shares/stock options as well as research funding.”

    And don’t forget those pharma prescribing kickbacks! They must be disclosed. This is probably why we have so many seroxat addicts because doctors have put their pockets first instead of their patients lives.

  2. Physician 06/08/2019 at 9:16 am #

    Thank you CEP.

    This should be afforded utmost priority.

    • Rosemary Knowles 06/08/2019 at 9:52 am #

      Absolutely brilliant news – this has been long overdue. Amidst all the overwhelming bad news flung at us daily, mostly about TRADE and its influence to cause so much power politicking, social imbalance and inequality, greedy exploitation and enslavement of workers etc. – and also the enslavement of the sick, through mind-altering and addictive drugs meant to heal people – it is so gratifying to know that the greedy corrupt pharmaceutical companies are at last being called to account. Go for it – cepuk –
      Every little crumb of comfort like this is a vindication for campaigners against these drugs and their pushers.. The pace is just frustratingly slow for us who read about this 3 years ago in Peter Gotzsche’s book – Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime.

  3. margaret turner 06/08/2019 at 10:15 am #

    I absolutely agree that as well as the ‘sunshine’ requirements there should be a removal of all the subtle infiltration of drug companies’ influence through sponsoring of team lunches, away days, training sessions. In my career I tried to boycott all such occasions, drawing my colleagues’ attention as to why.

    Also Hospital refreshment bars and canteens should never use mugs with drug names splattered on their sides! Instead I’d suggest inviting supporters to donate a pretty or simply colourful mug/cup that people could enjoy using!

  4. Marion Brown 06/08/2019 at 10:25 am #

    The infiltration of Pharma is endemic – in the form high level ‘partnering’ arrangements with our Governments, NHS, research institutions etc. … This needs to be made clear too….
    It is particularly worrying that Pharma is very adept at infiltrating Charities too … with influential ‘medical advisers’… who have conflicts of interest!
    Seeing clear evidence of this.

  5. Barry Haslam. 06/08/2019 at 10:33 am #

    Well said Dr James Davies, this action is long overdue and perhaps could be persued vigerously by CEPUK and the APPG on PDD after the forthcoming publication of the PHE Review into prescribed drug dependency. Both are intertwined.

  6. Sarah Ruddock 06/08/2019 at 10:55 am #

    Good idea. Would the act also call for disclosure of payments made by private hospitals to doctors who send patients there?

    Also, private doctors are always ‘grateful’ for referrals. This is another area where there must be many conflicts of interest.

  7. Shirley O'Toole 06/08/2019 at 11:58 am #

    It is vital that accountability be at the forefront of prescribing, especially ‘toxic’ psychiatric drugs, and must be open to public scrutiny.
    I have worked in mental health services for many years and started a well-respected, established carer led service in Brighton, funded by Brighton & Hove Council which aims to constructively support and train those who care for people with mental illness, provide a platform for their voices to be heard and come together to form a powerful group to implement change.
    I have encountered, first-hand the speed at which medication leaves the pharmaceutical companies, is passed onto psychiatrists and ends up prescribed to silent recipients. I have spoken directly to pharma reps about their research methods of anti-psychotic medication. I have been appalled and shocked at the time scales and feel it long overdue that there has to be a system that is answerable. It has been apparent for many years that financial gain has been at the forefront of prescribing decisions.
    I fully support the need for the UK Sunshine Act to make transparent the financial relationships between doctors and pharmaceutical companies & the makers of medical devices which requires all payments exceeding $10 (implemented by Obama administration in 2013) to be disclosed via a publicly accessible website. Equivalent legislation also operates in the France, Australia and the Netherlands. I agree that there should be a new act working alongside other measures to prohibit gifts and commercial sponsorship of doctor training events; the banning of pharmaceutical industry representatives and drug samples from clinical settings; the requirement for conflicts of interest to be declared in relevant settings (for example in news articles); regulatory structures that are independent of industry influence.

  8. Dr Neil MacFarlane MRCPsych 06/08/2019 at 1:30 pm #

    Is disappointing that CEPUK fails to acknowledge campaigners such as Dr Peter Gordon, who has highlighted this issue for years (see No 7 here: https://drnmblog.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/prescribed-harm-manifesto-learning-disability-and-autism-now-included/ ). But it is good that they acknowledge that industry conflict of interest is not confined to psychiatry.

    I also suggest that as long as CEPUK members block discussion by myself (@NMacFa) and others on Twitter they will be even more vulnerable to criticisms that they seek to distract from scrutiny of their own vested interests.

    • Rosemary Knowles 08/08/2019 at 11:38 am #

      Dr, Neil MacFarlane – thank you so much for your link to Prescribed Harm Manifesto. It is great to know that the whole Psychiatry “profession” in UK is being shaken up and even reforming itself from its harmful ways by some actual “good guys” within its ranks. Especially encouraging was number 8 – specialist clinics for people with Prescribed Harm problems will be set up. That cannot come soon enough. A most valuable addition to cepuk news. Really encouraging.

  9. James Graham Corscadden 07/08/2019 at 3:57 am #

    All money received by Doctors/Consultants etc from pharmaceutical companies/industries etc no matter how small a new law needs to be passed so that all payments have to mandatory recorded in a separate public register for all to see

  10. Rosemary Knowles 08/08/2019 at 11:44 am #

    Dr, Neil MacFarlane – thank you so much for your link to Prescribed Harm Manifesto. It is great to know that the whole Psychiatry “profession” in UK is being shaken up and even reforming itself from its harmful ways by some actual “good guys” within its ranks. Especially encouraging was number 8 – specialist clinics for people with Prescribed Harm problems will be set up. That cannot come soon enough. A most valuable addition to cepuk news. Really encouraging.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes