The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has given pharmaceutical companies that are members of Medicines Australia two years to improve transparency of payments and sponsorship made by pharmaceutical companies to individual healthcare professionals.
The ACCC has granted authorisation for edition 17 of Medicines Australia’s Code of Conduct for two years. The Code regulates interactions between Medicines Australia’s pharmaceutical member companies and healthcare professionals such as doctors and pharmacists.
“Improving transparency around payments to individual doctors will play an important role in promoting community confidence in the integrity of these payments to healthcare professionals,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.
A number of pharmaceutical companies in the United States are already publishing details of individual payments made to healthcare professionals. In order to ensure that the Code is amended in a timely manner, the ACCC has granted authorisation for two years rather than the five years sought by Medicines Australia.
The ACCC believes that remaining issues associated with a framework for individual disclosure can be substantially addressed in the next 12 to 18 months and an amended Code implemented by early 2015.
Authorisation provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that might otherwise raise concerns under the competition provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Broadly, the ACCC may grant an authorisation when it is satisfied that the public benefit from the conduct outweighs any public detriment.
More information about the application, including a copy of the ACCC's determination and public submissions, will be available at www.accc.gov.au/AuthorisationsRegister.