Mixed response to pharma code of conduct
Under the 18th code, all consultation fees and expenses paid to individual healthcare professionals for educational purposes must be reported by pharmaceutical companies as well as any fees paid to advisory board members.
However, doctors can choose to opt out of being identified, in which case expenditure would be reported in aggregate.
The Consumers Health Forum has said the code does not do enough to safeguard against the “schmoozing” of doctors to influence prescribing. It claims that without mandatory disclosure of individual payments, “senior medical experts will still be able to receive tens of thousands of dollars in speaker’s fees, sponsored travel and other perks from a drug company in return for giving talks about that company’s product”.
Senator Di Natale said the voluntary nature of doctor disclosure makes transparency “meaningless” and is not ruling out reintroducing his