Services - Pharma Cooperation Code
Disclosure obligation since 2016
Transparency is the key to the creation of confidence in relations with the general public and patients. That is why the European pharmaceutical industry discloses the pecuniary benefits provided between the pharmaceutical industry and stakeholders in the healthcare sector.
What is it about?
On 24 June 2013, the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) adopted the new EFPIA Disclosure Code. On that basis, scienceindustries as the responsible member association of EFPIA in Switzerland drew up the Pharma Cooperation Code (PCC) which entered into force in January 2014. The partner associations Intergenerika, Interpharma and vips have also subscribed to the PCC.
What commitment have the PCC signatory companies made?
Since 2016, the signatory companies disclose each year on their websites accessible to the public the pecuniary benefits which they granted in the previous year to professionals (primarily physicians and pharmacists) as well as healthcare organizations (in particular hospitals and research institutes).
Which benefits are disclosed?
The term pecuniary benefits as defined by the PCC means remuneration granted either directly or indirectly in connection with pharmaceuticals for human medicine available on prescription only. The disclosure includes payments made e.g. for consultancy and the provision of services, financial support for research and development in the healthcare sector and cost contributions for the attendance of professionals at events.
There are few exceptions from the obligation to disclose pecuniary benefits, e.g.:
• normal commercial compensation for professionals when pharmaceuticals are ordered and delivered
• delivery of pharmaceutical samples without payment to professionals within the limits of the official recommendations
• information and training materials of modest value
• payment for meals (including beverages)
How is disclosure effected?
To achieve a high degree of transparency, disclosure should take place individually, i.e. naming the recipients in person.
This requires the consent of the persons or organizations concerned to such disclosure. For this purpose, the cooperation agreements between the companies and these professional persons and organizations must be supplemented by suitable consent clauses. The companies are currently in contact with these stakeholders for that reason.
Disclosure of cooperation payments in 2020
The signatory companies to the PCC disclosed the following total cooperation payments for 2019:
- CHF 11.5 million to healthcare professionals
- CHF 105.3 million to healthcare organizations
- CHF 69.1 million for research & development
- Around CHF 185.9 million in total
You can find the key figures pertaining to the disclosure of cooperation payments in Switzerland for the individual signatory companies to the PCC for the last three years here:
The proportion of payments disclosed with individual names of the recipients continued to develop positively. The average consent rate for healthcare professionals was 84.5% (median rate even 91%). It must therefore be recognised that half of the PKK signatory companies have average consent rates of 91% or higher in this domain. Unfortunately, the average consent rate among the professional organisations fell slightly to 92.3%, albeit at a very high level. However, the median was 100%, which means that at least half of the PKK signatory companies show consent rates of 100%. These average values were determined on the basis of the individually disclosed number of recipients in relation to all recipients. If the consent rates are related to the disclosed sums, then these are on average somewhat lower, as in the previous year.
The following companies have achieved consent rates of less than 80% in relation to healthcare professionals:
- Boehringer Ingelheim (Switzerland)
- Eli Lilly (Suisse)
- Ipsen (Future Health Pharma)
- Otsuka Pharmaceuticals (Switzerland)
It should be noted that the vast majority of companies have maintained their individual disclosure rates at a high level or clearly improved them, which is gratifying in view of the efforts involved. The average development does not fully reflect this picture, which is shown by the significantly higher median values. Few companies have achieved disappointing results. The Code Secretariat calls on these companies to improve their compliance rates in order to further strengthen the positive development of the Transparency Initiative since its inception.
Further information on the subject:
- EFPIA: Responsible Transparency - Relationships & codes
- Verband Forschender Arzneimittelhersteller in Deutschland: Transparenz schafft Vertrauen
- Pharmig: Verband der pharmazeutischen Industrie Österreichs
- Schweizerische Ärztezeitung: Neue Verhaltensregeln für die Pharmaunternehmen (Dr. Dieter Grauer, 2014) / Offenlegung geldwerter Leistungen durch die Pharmaindustrie (Jürg Granwehr, 2016)
Documents to download (PDF):