Statement regarding Blick article “This is how the pharma industry buys our doctors”.
 
12/04/2019 - Ringier Media launched a database of the cooperation payments made to health care professionals and health care organisations by the pharma industry that have been disclosed since 2015. The Blick headline stated: “This is how the pharma industry buys our doctors”. scienceindustries decidedly objects to this allegation on behalf of its member companies.

The truth is that doctors, chemists, hospitals and other research institutions receive appropriate compensation from the industry for their cooperation expenses. The exchange between pharmaceutical companies and the aforementioned players is crucial in researching and developing new treatments and therapies. New therapies can only be developed and tested and existing therapies improved as part of an ongoing exchange of experiences. This leads to various cooperation partnerships, such as joint research projects, speakers at conferences, collaboration on advisory boards and many more which are strictly regulated and appropriately compensated.  

This cooperation is of crucial importance for pharmaceutical progress and is to the benefit of the patients. The Pharma Cooperation Code ensures that the industry maintains high ethical standards, regardless of the fact that the pharmaceutical industry is already one of the most regulated sectors. The legislator also permits these cooperation partnerships under strict conditions.

To promote public trust in these relationships, some 60 pharma companies have voluntarily disclosed their cooperation payments every year since 2015. The fees they have paid to health care professionals and organisations for their services are disclosed and interested parties can obtain an overview of these payments. The database that was launched yesterday is based on these data. The distorted report by Blick therefore not only comes as a disappointment but is also irritating in that it unfairly makes a general accusation against thousands of people.

Individual cases that breach the rules of the Pharma Codes or the law can never be fully excluded and are always submitted to criminal proceedings, which is the right way to handle such breaches. But we have to decidedly reject the suggestion made by Blick that the pharma industry systematically “buys” doctors and other service providers.