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Centralised Reporting System for Medicines Australia Member Companies' Payments and Transfers of Value to Healthcare Professionals

Medicines Australia is a strong advocate for transparency of payments and other transfers of value provided by the Australian medicines industry to health consumer organisations and healthcare professionals. The purpose of disclosure of payments and other activities is to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to this endeavour.

The innovative Australian medicines industry is putting patients first by showing the value of industry partnerships and taking the lead to boost transparency. Medicines Australia is very pleased to make available this database of Member companies' payments and transfers of value for Australian Healthcare Professionals.

The information we provide helps Australian consumers to better understand the nature and extent of activities our Members support in the interest of increasing the quality use of medicines, advancing patient care and supporting our local communities.

Australian health consumers can use this database to search for reports on payments and transfers of value made to Australian healthcare professionals - for their doctor, nurse, pharmacist, psychologist, optometrist, physiotherapist, dentist, podiatrist or nutritionist/dietician.

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WHO IS MEDICINES AUSTRALIA?

Medicines Australia represents the discovery-driven pharmaceutical industry in Australia. Our member companies invent, manufacture and supply innovative medicines and vaccines to the Australian community. Those medicines keep Australians out of hospitals, prevent disease and play a pivotal role in ensuring a productive and healthy community.

Medicines Australia represents the innovative medicines industry by:

  • engaging with government and government departments, the Australian Medicines Industry, consumer groups and health professionals to develop health and industry policy
  • building and maintaining relationships with government for fair reimbursement of medicines (through the Pharmaceuticals Benefits Scheme) to ensure the continuation of a viable medicines industry
  • administering the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct which sets the standard for the ethical marketing and promotion of prescription medicines
  • working with other health professional and consumer organisations on issues of mutual concern
  • providing specialist advice to member companies
  • educating the community about industry activities.

WHAT IS THE CODE OF CONDUCT?

The Medicines Australia Code ensures that the innovative medicines industry continues to set the benchmark for successful, responsible and ethical industry self-regulation. It achieves this through the adoption of principles that ensures the industry conducts itself to the highest standard in interacting with healthcare professionals, consumers and carers.

The Code of Conduct Code was established in 1960, and through the years has been regularly reviewed to maintain alignment with the industry's needs and community expectations. In 2020 we will celebrate 60 years of successful, responsible and ethical industry self-regulation.

HOW DO HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS PROVIDE CONSENT TO PUBLISH THIS DATA?

Since 1 October 2015, all Medicines Australia member companies have been required to collect information about Australian healthcare professionals who receive payments or educational support through airfares, accommodation or registration fees. Originally this reporting was with each healthcare professional's consent, with the option to opt out of having this data publicly reported.

In October 2016, the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct made reporting of these payments to healthcare professionals to be compulsory for Member companies after establishing the reasonable expectation of healthcare professionals of the reporting process.

Healthcare professionals are given the opportunity to verify the data before it is published, allowing them to make changes to ensure accuracy. The only way healthcare professionals can opt out of having this information reported is to decline the payment or transfer of value.

From 30 August 2019, this information will now be held in a consolidated database, administered by Medicines Australia. This database has been developed in consultation with the ACCC to ensure the information reported by our members is displayed in a consistent and easily searchable format.

HOW IS MEDICINES AUSTRALIA PROTECTING THE PRIVACY OF HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS?

Medicines Australia and our Member companies will ensure healthcare professionals' personal information is managed consistent with Australia's Privacy law.

A copy of the Privacy Statement can be found here: https://medicinesaustralia.com.au/about-us/legal/privacy/

WHAT IS BEING REPORTED?

The Medicines Australia Code of Conduct requires the reporting of:

  • Payments for the provision of services by a healthcare professional - for example, giving a lecture or presentation, providing advice as a member of an Advisory Board or providing advice to a company as a medical expert.
  • Support to participate in medical education - for example, a company can provide financial support for a healthcare professional to participate in medical education through paying for travel and accommodation to attend an educational meeting, or a registration fee to attend a conference.

HOW DO I INTERPRET THE INFORMATION?

Member companies are required to report payments and transfers of value to healthcare professionals individually, that is, by the healthcare professional's name.

The Code requires reporting the following types of payments and transfers of value:

  • Fees paid to healthcare professionals (or to their employer or a third party organisation) for:
  • speaking at an educational meeting or event;
  • consulting services;
  • attendance at an Advisory Board meeting;
  • participating in market research where the identity of the healthcare professional is known to the company.
  • Airfares for travel both within and outside Australia
  • Accommodation provided whether in Australia or another country
  • Registration fees to enable attendance at an educational meeting

Companies are required to report these payments or transfers of value using a prescribed template that details the healthcare professional's name and principle practice address; the date and description of the event or provision of service; and whether the payment was made to the healthcare professional, their employer or a third party. Importantly, Companies must include the amount of the payment or transfer of value, subdivided into (where relevant) registration fees, air travel and accommodation, and fees for service.

All payments and transfers of value are exclusive of GST.

I CAN'T SEE RECORDS FOR MY HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL

There are several reasons why there may be no data is available for your healthcare professional. Reports are only made by Member companies of Medicines Australia that are listed on our website. So, if your doctor received support or a payment from a company that is not a member, the information would not be reported. You can also ask your doctor if they have received any financial support from a company to attend an educational meeting or have been a member of a company Advisory Board.

WHEN DO PAYMENTS GET REPORTED?

Payments will be reported every six months, with two reports each year covering May to October and November to April. Compiling and verifying this data is complicated and time consuming. Companies take their responsibility for the accuracy of this information seriously and seek to provide healthcare professionals a reasonable time frame to verify the data before it is published. Therefore, new data will be published in February and August of each year. From August 2019, all member reports will be uploaded into this central reporting system. Reports will be available for three years after publication.

Older reports are not included in this database but are still available from Member companies' websites. You can access these reports from this webpage.

MY HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL IS DOING RESEARCH ON A PARTICULAR MEDICINE, WHY CAN'T I SEE THIS IN THE REPORTS?

The Medicines Australia Code of Conduct does not cover payments for clinical research, as these are paid to the institution, hospital or clinic where the research is being done, not to individual healthcare professionals.

IF A HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONAL HAS MANY FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

While each healthcare professional will be different, they may have many contacts with the pharmaceutical industry because of his or her specialist knowledge or skills. We encourage you to ask your healthcare professional if you would like to know more about their relationships with various companies and the benefits to their patients' health and their own expertise.













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