Pfizer Australia responds to medical education event audit results by Medicines Australia
Friday March 28, 2008
The ACCC has required innovative pharmaceutical companies that are members of Medicines Australia to make public certain costs associated with educational meetings and symposia to healthcare professionals.
On 28 March, Medicines Australia published details of educational events and associated hospitality provided between 1 July and 31 December 2007.
Pfizer Australia has received formal notification from Medicines Australia that of our 1266 events held in this reporting period, 5 have been referred to MA?s Code of Conduct Committee for further consideration in their April meeting. At this point, we do not know whether or not these events will be found to be in breach of the Code of Conduct.
Educational events are important for keeping doctors, pharmacists and nurses up-to-date with what is new about our medicines. Medical education is critical to patient safety and it is fundamental to the quality use of medicines. As outlined in the Government?s National Strategy for Quality Use of Medicines, industry plays a key role in providing good quality, accurate, balanced information and education services to healthcare professionals to support the appropriate use of our medicines.
Providing healthcare professionals with a meal as part of their education is often necessary, because events can only be conducted before or after surgery hours. However, the community has a right to expect that the way these events are supported by pharmaceutical companies is appropriate.
Pfizer Australia recognises that community expectations of our industry are constantly changing. Although the cost of hospitality in two-thirds of our education events was less than $25 per person, Pfizer Australia has already reviewed and will continue to review our internal policies which govern our interactions with healthcare professionals to ensure that:
- The medical education we provide is balanced and accurate;
- The hospitality we provide is appropriate and does not inappropriately influence the decisions of healthcare professionals.
Pfizer policies include the Global Policy on Interaction with Health Professionals and the Pfizer Policy on Business Conduct.
We support greater transparency and disclosure of all expenses associated with educational meetings and symposia and believe that the upcoming review of the industry?s Code of Conduct is important to build community trust. This review will involve key stakeholders with an interest in medical education ? including patients, consumer groups, doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and government.