The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has published a new guide for pharmaceutical companies working with patients, which provides companies with new guidance on "working successfully, collaboratively and ethically with patients and patient groups and in line with the ABPI Code of Practice.”

The sourcebook covers six topics, which were identified as areas where further guidance would be of assistance, such as principles and agreements, stating that companies must have written agreements when working with patient organisations, and principles of clarity, integrity, independence and transparency should underpin all collaborations.

The code also has strict guidance on the purpose of the meetings and what can and can’t be included, for example, meetings must have a clear educational purpose.

The ABPI also stated that it supports collaboration between industry and patients in the interests of enhancing public health, however, in the new guidance companies must make publicly available each year a list of the patient organisations to which they provide support, both financial and non-financial with a description of what the support is for and the monetary value.

Jill Pearcy, director of ABPI Code Engagement at the ABPI who authored the report, said: “The industry is here to develop medicines that address unmet medical needs and it is clear that to understand that need, you must learn from the people living with the condition.

"We have worked with patient organisations to produce a sourcebook which includes practical guidance, tips and tools, to support pharmaceutical companies collaborate with patients and patient organisations.

"It might sound obvious, but if you are not working with patient interest at the heart of what you do you can’t be truly patient-centric. As an industry we are committed to this.”

Other key points included: “Research and development; Patient organisations or charities can play a key role in representing the patient voice due to their unique position of having direct contact with patients while at the same time funding medical research, however, agreements must be in place and companies must disclose details of the patient organisations that they provide financial support to, in line with the Code.”

The guide is being launched at the joint ABPI, AMRC, NIHR conference: Pioneering Partnerships.