3rd October 2018, Fiona Godlee, Editor-in-Chief of the BMJ: "We need a Sunshine Act to ensure that payments are properly declared. We also need action from medicines's leaders - the Royal Colleges"
I have campaigned for Sunshine legislation for much of the last decade. Sunshine legislation would make it mandatory for all competing financial transactions from industry/commerce paid to doctors, academics and healthcare workers to be declared in a public, open, searchable register.
Evidence (EBM and real world) has repeatedly demonstrated that money distorts science to the advantage of business. I ask, most simply, is this the “science” that we all wish to follow?
My view is that Sunshine legislation is not an end in itself, but is necessary if we are to progress towards the philosophical ideal of “disinterested science”.
I have been a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists for almost a quarter of a century. In June 2017, at the time of the Presidential handover, I submitted this published comment:
Time has moved on since I wrote this, and still not one of the Royal Colleges has publicly supported Sunshine legislation.
Meantime inquiries into iatrogenic harm, such as that on polypropylene Mesh implants continue. Considering the harm that has resulted from Mesh implants, an elected Scottish parliamentarian remarked (in the chamber of the Scottish Parliament):
Last month, October 2018, the Editor in Chief of the BMJ stated:
Following this statement by the Editor in Chief of the BMJ, I wrote to all the Royal Colleges to ask if they supported a Sunshine Act?
I had no response. Not one.
I began to follow this up with my own College first. After a considerable number of communications and phone calls, this was the response that I finally received:
Given how much of my free time I have given, over many years, to try and discuss this matter with my College, I naturally felt most disappointed by this reply. It was as if the petition that I had raised had never been heard – and the consultations that followed – including the views of experts, authorities, and public alike, had returned to zero.
I have politely asked my College – to share with all of whom it represents – the College position:
“that this is a matter for the Government to decide”.
Unfortunately it seems that I have now been effectively ‘black-listed’ by my own College.
Footnote: This was a letter published in the BMJ last year. It was written with my wife who is a generalist: