ACCC welcomes reporting of payments to individual healthcare professionals

1 March 2017

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission welcomes transparency reports published by Medicines Australia member companies in accordance with the Code of Conduct authorised by the ACCC in April 2015.

The Code sets the standards for the marketing and promotion of prescription pharmaceutical products in Australia by member companies. The reporting regime requires identification of ‘transfers of value’, such as speaking fees, advisory board fees, and sponsorships to attend conferences, made by member companies to individual healthcare professionals since October 2015.

“The ACCC is pleased to see Medicines Australia’s publication of these transparency reports in accordance with the Code the ACCC authorised. Greater transparency around things such as speakers’ fees and sponsorships of conference attendance helps to improve accountability in the marketing and promotion of prescription pharmaceutical products in Australia,” ACCC Commissioner Sarah Court said.

The reports are made public on each member company’s website every six months, with links to those reports also on the Medicines Australia website.

“The ACCC encourages Medicines Australia to continue its efforts to establish a central reporting system,” Ms Court said. 

“This will ensure that the data collected is accessible to patients and other interested parties so that the full benefits of this new transparency regime are realised.”

Background

In 2015, the ACCC required Medicines Australia to strengthen its public reporting as part of authorising edition 18 of its Code of Conduct (the Code). The Code provides standards for appropriate advertising, the behaviour of medical representatives and relationships with healthcare professionals. All member companies of Medicines Australia must adhere to the Code, although membership of Medicines Australia is voluntary.

The ACCC authorised the Code in April 2015.

Since October 2015, the Code has required all Medicines Australia member companies to publicly report when they pay an individual healthcare professional for their services or provide financial support for a healthcare professional to engage in education (including airfares, accommodation or conference registration fees).

This requirement in the Code focuses on some of the most significant transfers of value. Expenditure on food and beverage is not included in the reporting of transfers of value, but the Code imposes a $120 per meal cap on food and beverages.

Authorisation does not represent ACCC endorsement of a code. Rather, it provides statutory protection from court action for conduct that meets the net public benefit test and 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.

The Transparency Reports can be found here: Medicines Australia member company reports

 

Release number: 
MR 18/17
ACCC Infocentre: 

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Media enquiries: 
Media Team - 1300 138 917, media@accc.gov.au

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