By Tim McGuire

The voluntary disclosure of financial interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and health care professionals is another example of the continuous evolution of the pharmaceutical industry, says Tim McGuire, Director, Global Health Care Professional Reporting, Eli Lilly & Company.

TimMcGuireThe move across Europe to publically disclose the pharmaceutical industry’s financial interactions with Health Care Professionals (HCPs) and Health Care Organizations (HCOs) will inevitably draw more attention to the relationship between companies and healthcare providers. While some may be concerned about the potential negative impact of this type of information, the opposite is true, says McGuire. Disclosure of individual financial relationships between industry and HCPs and HCOs will be a positive force, and further highlight the need and importance of cooperation between industry, academia, clinicians, healthcare organisations and patients’ groups in at least three areas:

–       the need for collaboration to foster innovation to bring new and better treatments to patients;

–       the need for up to date education to ensure the right medicines are used appropriately;

–       as a channel for gaining insights into current treatments and understanding unmet medical needs from both the patient’s and clinician’s perspective.

“The focus greater transparency will bring to this on-going collaboration with HCPs and HCOs will demonstrate that the over-riding objective is to keep the patient at the centre,” McGuire says.

“I look at greater reporting transparency as another example of how the industry continues to evolve.” says McGuire. At Lilly we unite caring with discovery to make life better for people around the world. We need to interact with clinicians in order to do that, both in translating scientific discoveries into clinical studies of potential new medicines and for healthcare professionals to be up to date on the latest products when treating patients. Lilly is committed to disclosing the details of the financial support we give as we move towards greater transparency and building better relationships and trust between pharmaceutical companies and the medical community that best serves the interest of patients.

While in the US financial transparency is mandated by the Sunshine Act, in Europe the move to disclose is for the most part voluntary. This does raise the possibility that some healthcare professionals may decide to opt out, as is their right under national data protection laws, and some could choose not to be involved with the industry at all in the future.

“While granting of consent to disclose will vary country-by-country. the industry will maintain its commitment by reporting aggregate figures,” McGuire said. “I hope the vast majority of HCPs and HCOs share the view that financial disclosure is an opportunity to highlight the value of collaboration.”

The new disclosure initiative will require “robust” communication of the objectives of transparency to the general public. The industry is working in a coordinated and aligned way to get the message across, but a multi-faceted approach is needed involving all the stakeholders. “This is truly a shared responsibility – among companies, EFPIA, national trade associations, regional & national HCP and HCO associations, and HCPs & HCOs themselves at the local level” said McGuire. “There is a need for further education and information about how the industry engages with all the key stakeholders, with the ultimate objective of improving patient care.”

Mr. McGuire is the Director of Global HCP Transparency Reporting at Eli Lilly and Company, whose mission is to make medicines that help people live longer, healthier, more active lives.  He has also held leadership positions in Marketing Operations and Finance. He has a Bachelors Degree in Finance from The University of Iowa and an MBA from DePaul University.