I have worked in the commercial function of GlaxoSmithKline for the last 20 years across different countries in Europe. Although the pharmaceutical industry has contributed to many of the biggest breakthroughs in science, the reputation of the industry is one of the lowest across industry sectors. This has been because of several unfortunate and inexcusable industry scandals but also, I believe due to an innate societal suspicion of an industry that makes profit from illness.
Despite this, I am extremely proud of the industry I work in and believe we have an opportunity to address our poor reputation and focus on the cutting-edge science that is still leading to medical breakthroughs for many of the illnesses that affect our friends and family every day. However, we will never achieve this if we continue to work as an industry in the same way. I believe the key to affecting real change in trust and reputation is to be totally transparent about the relationship we have with prescribers of our medicines. GSK has been taking many steps towards uncompromised transparency for many years, e.g. fully disclosing clinical studies, the cooperation with patient groups and all interactions with HCPs on individual basis.
Across Europe the industry has taken significant steps forward in recent years in several countries and across the European Industry body, EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations), with standards agreed and implemented in some localities. However, these are not routinely applied particularly on issues such as compulsory declaration of conflict of interests between Health Care Professionals and the Industry. My presentation aims to explore my belief that there is still considerable progress to be made if we want to address transparency and the reputation of the Pharma sector.
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