Engaging with healthcare professionals
As a healthcare company, we regularly work with healthcare professionals. From collaborating on clinical trials to providing high quality, balanced information about our medicines and vaccines, in all of our interactions we aim to be transparent about our work, operate with integrity, and always put the interests of patients first.
Our policy for working with healthcare professionals
On October 2, 2018 we announced a series of changes to our policy for how we work with healthcare professionals (HCPs). The purpose of these changes is to improve understanding of new data and clinical experience with our products and increase transparency of payments to HCPs. The changes will apply to innovative products for a limited time and aim to support HCPs to deliver better outcomes for patients.
Please see our code on HCP engagement (link opens in a new window - filesize 1.81mb), or go directly to the updated sections:
- Section 1.4.4 (links opens in a new window - filesize 1.81mb) External speakers
- Section 4.5.4 (links opens in a new window - filesize 1.81mb) Funding of virtual congress attendance for HCPs/OHS
- Section 4.6 (links opens in a new window - filesize 1.81mb) Funding of HCPs and OHS to attend stand-alone promotional meetings
Why we made these changes
Over the last 10 years we have seen significant innovation across the industry in multiple therapy areas characterized by a greater volume and release of clinical data. This is especially the case in secondary healthcare and is highly relevant to GSK as our data in the secondary care setting is increasing.
For patients to benefit from new medical innovations, HCPs need to access and understand the latest available data and clinical use of the product. Our ability to provide or clarify new data to HCPs is a crucial part of introducing new ideas that have the potential to improve patient health.
Consistent feedback from HCPs has shown that they have a clear preference to learn about new data and clinical experience through peer-to-peer programs with global expert practitioners who have direct experience with our medicines.
In 2013, we announced we would stop paying HCPs to speak on our behalf about our products or disease areas and that we would rely more on our own clinical experts. Five years on, GSK is the only company to have taken this approach and other companies continue to compensate HCPs when sharing data and talking about clinical experience.
The effect of this has been that our educational programs have not been as widely available, or seen as compelling to HCPs, compared to other company programs. We believe this has led to a reduced understanding of our products and is, ultimately, restricting patients’ access to truly innovative medicines and vaccines.
Changes made to our policy
Therefore, we are making the following changes to our policy to help improve sharing of new data on our products among HCPs. Going forward, GSK will:
- Make fair market value payments to global expert practitioners who speak about the new science behind selected GSK products, their associated diseases and clinical practice in promotional settings including national meetings, speaker training meetings, GSK standalone meetings, satellite symposia and webinars.
- Pay reasonable travel costs (except in the US) for an HCP to attend a GSK-organized standalone meeting to learn about data and clinical expertise.
- Directly pay registration fees for HCPs to attend remote congress webinars/webcasts. GSK will continue to not sponsor HCPs to attend local and international conferences.
These changes will apply for a period of 24 months from marketing authorization of a new medicine or vaccine, and for 12 months following significant new data, as this is the point at which HCPs have the most need to know about data from new products.
The policy changes will be applied to select products in the US and Japan as of October 2018, and depending on effective implementation and assessment of risk, in other major developed markets in Europe, North America and Asia from 2019 onwards.
The changes being made to speaker payments will focus on global expert practitioners. The aggregate payment to this select group will be significantly lower than was made before our current system was introduced in 2013.
These changes are effective immediately, apply to GSK’s Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines businesses, and ViiV Healthcare, and are in full compliance with applicable regulations and laws.
Support for the changes
New controls and training have been implemented to support these changes, including measures to track appropriate payment and use of external speakers. We also continue to increase the use of digital channels to engage with HCPs and are making further investments in digital platforms and channels with the aim of delivering more personalized support, a better customer experience and a more effective cascade of information to HCPs.
Reporting the payments we make to HCPs
We remain committed to disclosing the payments we make to HCPs and intend to expand our reporting of payments to individual HCPs.
We already publish payments made to HCPs in 32 markets across Europe (including Russia and Ukraine) as well as Australia, Japan and the US for activities such as advisory boards, scientific symposiums and market research.
From 2019, where legally permitted, we will now report individual level payments made each year to HCPs for attending educational meetings and for the provision of services, such as speaking at events or attending advisory boards. Where individual level disclosure is not legally permitted, we will continue to report aggregate payments.Learn more about our disclosure of payments to HCPs in the US.
For many years, we have sought to show that whenever we talk to a doctor, nurse or other prescriber, it is patients’ interests that always come first. We understand that our role in providing HCPs with new data and information about our medicines, must be done clearly and without any perception of conflict of interest.
We believe that transparent scientific dialogue and engagement with experts is in the interests of all those working to develop new medicines, improve clinical practice and care for patients. These are the principles that underpin our policy of engagement with HCPs and we remain fully committed to them.