The ABPI “Guidance”

Petition PE1493 advocating that Scotland introduce a Sunshine Act was presented to the Public Petition Committee of the Scottish Government on 12th Novemeber 2013:

Evidence presented here:
Film of evidence presented on PE1493:

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) wrote to the Petition Committee of the Scottish Government two weeks in advance of the petition’s presentation (I gather this is unusual). The ABPI letter of the 29 Oct 2013 was written by Andrew Powrie-Smith, Director ABPI Scotland:

My response to ABPI Scotland, by e-mail, is below.

Meantime, it might be worth considering the reasons why the lancet withdrew its support of the ABPI Guidance in February of this year.


From: Gordon Peter (NHS FORTH VALLEY)
Sent: 01 November 2013 07:30
Subject: Public Petition PE01493

1 November 2013.

Dear Keith,
Andrew Howlett, Assistant Clerk, Public Petitions Committee forwarded to me the letter of the 29th October 2013 sent by Andrew Powrie-Smith regarding the above petition lodged by myself.

This was a most helpful letter.

I would be interested to meet up and to learn more of the EFPIA Code and the Disclosure Code. It would be most helpful to know how such would be practically implemented in Scotland. I can also appraise ABPI on what the FOI returns have evidenced to be happening in NHS Scotland. There is also the issue of non-NHS academics who are key-opinion leaders and researchers, often affiliated to Universities where currently very little, if anything is recorded in terms of conflicts of interest.

My view is that the GMC should have a role in developing an open, searchable database and that such could fit in within a statutory Act like a Sunshine Act. You will understand then that I am looking at this matter from both sides: where the medical profession has equal responsibility to that of the Pharmaceutical Industry.

I would also be interested, if it is possible, to attend the multi-stakeholder event planned for this autumn.

Evidence based research tells us that there are harmful consequences of an approach where the Pharmaceutical industry spends twice as much on marketing as on innovation and development. There are so many examples, over generations that one could cite: Reboxetine, Seroxat, Vioxx etc etc. Stephen Whitehead has kept assuring that such “is all in the past”. For balance, I would argue that ABPI’s Director, Andrew Powrie-Smith should have mentioned the repeated and well-established evidence of harm associated with marketing in the first part of paragraph two of his letter of 29 October 2013. Collectively we have an ethical duty of “primum non plus nocere quam succurrere” (first do no net harm).

My secretary can be contacted below and best days for tend to be Friday afternoons.

Kind wishes,
Peter Gordon

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