The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry says its member companies have agreed changes to amend their Code of Practice to include greater transparency on payments made to healthcare professionals and organisations.

Results of a recent consultation, reported last month in the BMJ, showed "overwhelming support for public disclosure" with almost 90% of the 1,055 respondents agreeing that payments to individually-named healthcare professionals by companies should be transparent and publicly declared. The trade body argues that "the next important step is to finalise the method of disclosure and a number of options are being considered".

Some 80% of respondents to the survey agreed that "a single, publicly searchable, central database was preferable" and the ABPI and other relevant organisations "will now engage further with relevant stakeholders". It is thought that the 2015 Code will include requirements about the method of disclosure, following a consultation, probably in summer 2014.
 
ABPI chief executive Stephen Whitehead said that "for too long the industry has suffered from a common misunderstanding around the nature of its relationship with healthcare professionals". These "are proper and play a vital part" in ensuring those concerned "understand the detail of new medicines to support future R&D and improve the quality of patient care".
 
He added that the changes to the Code "are part of the industry’s attempt to address this misunderstanding and to enhance transparency. We hope this will allow us to foster greater trust between the medical community, industry and patients".