“Packaging up old myths”

Last week the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) held its Annual Conference:

Annual Conference 2015

The Pharmaceutical Industry are concerned about an “affordability conundrum”:

Affordability conundrum1

The affordability conundrum

This BBC Report from November 2014: “Pharmaceutical Industry gets high on fat profits” documented that:

Pharmaceutical industry gets high on fat profits (2b)

There will be many companies around the world who would like to be dealing with this kind of “affordability conundrum”.

Another area of concern to the industry was discussed at the 2015 ABPI Conference:

Aileen Thompson 2


The closing session of the 2015 ABPI Conference was focused on the reputation of the pharmaceutical industry:

Industry as a credible partner

A panel discussion was part of this:

Sponsored by concentra

I wonder if the panel considered this:Pharmaceutical industry gets high on fat profits (3)

Andrew McConaghie of PharmaPhorum recorded this passage:




My view is that if the Pharmaceutical industry are concerned about their reputation then they should avoid such obvious scapegoating. Dr Goldacre has been and continues to be a world pioneer for scientific objectivity and it does the “reputation” of the British Pharmaceutical industry no credit to distort his work in this way.

Here is the view of the World Health Organisation:

Pharmaceutical industry gets high on fat profits (4)

Each year, in the United Kingdom, the Pharmaceutical Industry spends over £40 million on paid opinion leaders. There is currently no meaningful way of knowing the details of this as the only central register available is based on voluntary disclosure.

Evidence gathered for PE1493, the petition I raised for a Sunshine Act for Scotland, indicated that much of this £40 million went to a relatively small but highly influential group of opinion leaders, most of whom are involved in determining and providing continuing medical education (CME).

PE1493 established this was true for most, if not all, medical specialties. What follows is based on the specialty of psychiatry simply because this is the specialty in which I have spent my career and with which I am most familiar.

Here are some of the paid opinion leaders in UK psychiatry [I have used information available in the public domain to construct visual summaries of the competing interests of some key opinion leaders. I have done so in the spirit of the relevant guidance of the Royal College of Psychiatrists].

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