Pharma spends $80m on educational events

Between 1 October 2013 and 31 March 2014 there were 13,020 drug company-sponsored events attended by 404,496 health professionals at an average cost of $92.50 per head, according to peak industry body Medicines Australia.

The reported showed that for the 12 months to March, event expenditure was $18.6 million higher than the previous comparable period, which reported expenditure of $63.2 million.

A spokesperson for Medicines Australia told MO this most likely reflects the change to the Code of Conduct, which came into effect in January 2013 and requires companies to report the cost of all sponsorships of healthcare professionals to attend independent, third party, educational meetings.

"It means there has been additional reporting included in the latest reports. Otherwise, the overall expenditure on educational events does tend to fluctuate. It is hard to explain why this is so, precisely. Partly it would be seasonal (e.g. Christmas/New Year holiday