Pharmaceutical companies will disclose
expenses covered for healthcare professionals
with the aim of boosting transparency

The Cyprus Association of Research and Development Pharmaceutical Companies (KEFEA) takes press coverage on the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report – and specifically the interactions of pharmaceutical companies with healthcare professionals – very seriously and would like to clarify that it has been following a Code of Conduct for years now. The Code was in fact revised very recently with the aim of ensuring transparency and credibility in the pharmaceutical industry.

KEFEA notes that this matter was not discussed during its meeting with WHO. Instead the meeting focused on medicine prices, as part of discussions currently underway with the stakeholders.

According to the revised Code, all pharmaceutical companies that are members of KEFEA and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) must disclose the expenses they cover for healthcare professionals, as part of a Europe-level initiative to apply a stricter self-regulatory framework in the sector and increase transparency.

As a member of EFPIA, KEFEA adopted this initiative on a local level. According to the Code’s latest update (May 2014), the companies-members of EFPIA and members of its unions-members will proceed in 2016, for the first time ever, with disclosing details of specific expenses that were incurred on behalf of healthcare professionals in the year 2015. On behalf of KEFEA, Kyriakos Mikellis explained that the information made public will concern, among others, the sponsoring of scientific organisations, fees for consultancy speeches and coverage of expenses to attend medical conferences in Cyprus and abroad. The information in question will be published on a public platform, on each company’s website, and available to the public.

It is further mentioned that in line with the Code, KEFEA and EFPIA members have stopped offering healthcare professionals samples of products that have been on the market for more than two years, while doctors can only be given four samples per new product a year. The new Code also adopts stricter provisions on the interaction between medical representatives and healthcare professionals, the promotion of prescription medicinal products, the availability of samples as well as promotional material, and the hosting of healthcare professionals during scientific events.

Mr Mikellis said the new Code ensures that the promotion of medicines to healthcare professionals is carried out in a transparent and honest way, without deception and in accordance with the Law’s provisions, while he added this initiative was supported by the Cyprus Medical Association.

Adherence to the new Code, which has been uploaded to the Association’s recently updated website (www.kefea.org.cy), is obligatory for all members of KEFEA, as well as all members of EFPIA who are active in Cyprus.

KEFEA is calling on all pharmaceutical companies that are active in Cyprus to adopt the Code’s provisions. Such an act would bring significant benefits to patients, healthcare professionals and the broader pharmaceutical sector, while at the same time reaffirming the pharmaceutical companies’ commitment to ethical behaviour.

KEFEA was established in 2006 and represents the innovative pharmaceutical industry in Cyprus. KEFEA’s members are the companies GSK, Lilly, MSD, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Amgen Hellas and Genesis Pharma. Its mission is to provide Cypriots with innovative medicines.