Doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals in the UK received £40m in 2012 from pharmaceutical companies, figures suggest.
The money was paid to both NHS and private staff for consultancies, sponsorships and other interactions with drug businesses, according to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
According to a spokesperson, the money was paid for attending medical education events, training and development, and fees for services such as speaking engagements to share good clinical practice and participation in advisory boards.
The ABPI said it had released the figures as part of an ongoing ‘transparency drive’. Leading figures from the medical and pharmaceutical industries announced in January that an examination was underway to decide whether healthcare staff paid by drug companies should declare their earnings on a public register.
The Ethical Standards in Health and Life Sciences Group, which launched the consultation, said such disclosure would be a “significant step” towards greater transparency between the industries.
The ABPI added that private companies also plan to reveal the number of healthcare professionals on their payrolls to keep relationships between the industries open and transparent.
“The industry is proud of its collaboration with healthcare professionals,” said ABPI chief executive Stephen Whitehead.
“Working closely with healthcare professionals has helped the industry to consult with, and listen to, clinical expertise and develop medicines which are in the best interest of patients.”
He added: “It is right that professionals are reimbursed fairly for the time and expertise they regularly provide the industry in developing the next generation of medicines.”
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