Sunshine Over Europe: Event Sheds Light on Disclosure


Sunshine was a strong feature of this week's CBI’s Global Transparency Reporting Congress in London.

Sunshine was a strong feature of this month's CBI Global Transparency Reporting Congress (London, April 15-16), both in terms of the unseasonably hot weather outside and in the frequent referencing of the US experience of healthcare spend disclosure.

Certainly, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has drawn closely on the US experience to ascertain UK HCPs’ expectations of working within EFPIA’s upcoming Disclosure Code on Transfers of Value. ABPI’s Aileen Thompson and Victoria Saunders highlighted how HCP attitudes to disclosure in the UK mirrored those of their US counterparts when they were surveyed ahead of Sunshine going live.

ABPI’s 2013 survey of over 1000 HCPs revealed that 79% were in favor of a central public database, and 77% in favor of individual named disclosure. 76% said disclosure would have no effect on their collaboration with pharma, or would make them more likely to collaborate with pharma in future. But while a US survey initally found very similar results, five months after go-live only 46% of HCPs surveyed had visited the disclosure database, with half of these doing so to check their own payment data, and 15% just to find out what other HCPs were earning.

EFPIA’s Julie Bonhomme gave an update on the implementation of EFPIA’s code around Europe. On the surface it looked like a minefield of different interpretations and deviations, but the overall message is, perhaps, one of increasing if tentative harmony as each country, in its own way, takes steps to climb aboard the disclosure train.

Porzio Life Science’s Brian Sharkey and Christine Bradshaw spiced up their tour of various national reporting mandates by linking each country to one of its most well-known and celebrated rock bands/singers (UK: Led Zeppelin, US: Bruce Springsteen, Germany: Scorpions, France: Daft Punk, etc), which worked pretty well until they got to Switzerland, Japan and Colombia. Nevertheless, Porzio’s presentation was full of useful information on the progress being made in all corners of the world, such as the appearance in New Zealand (Flight of the Conchords) of a New Zealand Medical Journal article authored by several HCPs, which called last month for Sunshine-type legislation to be introduced in the country.

With the implementation of the EFPIA code just a year way, the US Sunshine experience continues to set a valuable example in Europe and around the world, not just for its successes but also, perhaps more significantly, for its failings.