As the perceived urgency for transparency and compliance in global pharma grows ever stronger, the ‘Sunshine provisions’ of the US’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) seem increasingly aptly named. The spotlight that has been exposing and illuminating – and sometimes burning – issues around the financial interests of physicians and academic medical centers in the US, as regards their relationship with pharma, has crossed the Atlantic and is now breaking through the clouds in Europe.
Cegedim Relationship Management’s second annual report on aggregate spend, transparency and disclosure looks at the how the industry is responding to a number of Sunshine-type measures currently spreading through Europe, including the recently introduced UK Bribery Act, legislation similar to the ACA recently adopted in France, and the increased transparency rules about to affect The Netherlands.
Comparisons with last year’s results show that more European companies are enforcing corporate standards for spending on HCPs, and that compliance professionals are more confident in their companies’ ability to meet transparency requirements, with 87% of 2011 participants saying their ability to comply is Good or Excellent, an increase from 73% in 2010. Specific difficulties in 2011 were identified as the struggle to connect a unique identification to HCPs from expense reports; incomplete spend and customer information; and overall system/process shortcomings.
But although the report points to Europe making “significant improvements” in its journey toward full compliance, there was less of a focus on those countries with a less than gleaming reputation when it comes to transparency and disclosure of payments to physicians and regulators. Greece, Poland, Romania and Russia, for example, although now largely engaged in implementing apparently heavy-handed anti-corruption measures, are likely to have further to go before their disclosure practices are ready to face the light of day.