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FAQs: Working with HCPs & HCOs

Why does Pfizer make payments to healthcare professionals (HCPs)?

Pfizer pays HCPs when they act as consultants and share their expertise with us; this is called providing 'fees for service and consultancy'.  We also offer financial support to HCPs to attend third party meetings where they can further their knowledge and keep abreast of medical developments. Any travel and accommodation expenses related to these activities are also disclosed on our website and considered a 'transfer of value' between industry and the healthcare professional in question.

Collaborative working between healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry has long been a positive driver for the progression of modern medicine and advancements in patient care. Both parties regularly join together during early scientific research, clinical trials and support for medical education in the interests of delivering and advancing high quality patient care.

These collaborations are essential to gaining the insight necessary to develop and deliver treatment choices that improve the health and well-being of patients, and to support future research and development. These relationships also help the flow of information between industry and the NHS. We reimburse healthcare professionals for their expertise and time when they work with us. 

We think HCPs should be appropriately paid for the time they invest and expertise they offer, but it is right to continually review how this works in practice.

It is important the public feels confident our relationships are appropriate and beneficial. That is why we are committed to transparency. We hope that the healthcare professionals we work with feel the same, and that is why Pfizer has taken the decision that we will only work in future with those who are happy to share information about our work together in the public domain.

 

What is Pfizer disclosing and when?

Since 2012, Pfizer has been publicly sharing details of the total amount of money paid annually to the healthcare professionals we work with as well as reporting Medical and Educational Goods and Services (MEGS) provided to healthcare organisations, institutions or associations. Through MEGS, the pharmaceutical industry provides financial support or services for projects that can be shown to provide direct value to patients or the NHS; there can be no direct benefit to the supporting pharmaceutical company.

As of 2016, Pfizer now also shares details of all other types of donations paid by Pfizer to healthcare organisations, beyond just MEGS. This includes charitable or business donations, educational grants and studentships. Definitions of each activity are provided on our website.

As part of a universal industry decision to increase transparency, in 2015 we also started collecting the payment data at an individual level so the public can see how much is paid to individual healthcare professionals and specific health organisations.

This information is provided on a detailed, searchable database by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI). Pfizer also provides a more in-depth version of the data on our website which will be shared annually in June.

 

What payment information is Pfizer disclosing under the ‘Fees for service consultancy’ category?

With respect to healthcare organisations, 'fees for service and consultancy' could refer to a variety of services we have purchased such as the operational costs associated with a healthcare organisation delivering a service on our behalf. For example, one of Pfizer’s most significant costs in this area is payments made to healthcare organisations which specialise in delivering certain medicines directly to a patient’s home.

When working with healthcare professionals, 'fees for service and consultancy' refers to payments made for sharing their expertise with us. These 'consultancy services' can take a number of forms such as speaking at meetings, chairing meetings, participating in advisory boards and providing consultancy time to help us better understand the ‘real-world’ implications of our work. We regularly work with HCPs as advisors on a range of issues such as medicines development, the role of a medicine in a patient pathway, health economics and clinical best practice. For example, at the early stages of medicine development, Pfizer scientists work with expert HCPs to acquire their thoughts on how and where they think the target product profile of a potential developmental medicine would be beneficial in a real-life setting and genuinely address an unmet patient need.

Chairing/speaking at a speaker meeting: This includes any any healthcare professional, scientist and other relevant decision maker who is contracted by Pfizer to either serve as chairperson for a Pfizer-organised meeting or to speak and present at a Pfizer-organised meeting. An example of this would be when Pfizer works with a healthcare professional as a consultant to lecture on scientific advances related to specific therapeutic areas.  This peer-to-peer engagement offers healthcare professionals the benefit of hearing from someone with direct, everyday experience of managing a condition beyond a clinical trial setting.

Chairing/Participating in an Advisory Board: This includes any healthcare professional, government official or other relevant decision maker who is contracted by Pfizer to either serve as Chairperson at a Pfizer-organised advisory board or to attend a Pfizer-organised advisory board. An example of this would be when Pfizer employs a healthcare professional to advise us on a particular topic, which could include anything from medicine development to the role of a medicine in a patient pathway, to health economics or best clinical  practice.

Other Consultancy: All healthcare professional consultancy which does not fall into either “Chairing/Speaking at a Speaker Meeting” or “Chairing/Participating in an Advisory Board”. This could include but is not limited to advice on patient or disease awareness programmes, market research or assistance with training.

 

What information are you disclosing under the ‘registration fees’ category?

Registration fees refers to the financial support we offer healthcare professionals to attend independent third party medical education meetings. Through medical meetings, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical professionals have the chance to network and share knowledge as well as continue their medical education through keeping up to date the latest medical developments and advances.

We define a third party meeting as one that is independent and the organiser of the meeting (not Pfizer) chooses the faculty, speakers, content, materials, venue and any vendors or experts who help plan the event or develop materials. 

Since December 2014, Pfizer has only supported registration fees to third party medical education meetings up to an amount of £750 irrespective of whether the meeting is in the UK, Europe or outside of Europe. This update was introduced to ensure we focus our funding on the educational component of the meeting. From 2016, no partial contributions will be made unless specifically requested by an HCP, for example when they have already secured partial sponsorship elsewhere.

 

How does Pfizer ensure that payments made to healthcare professionals are ethical and appropriate?

Healthcare professionals play a significant role in helping us develop and deliver the right medicines to current and future patients. We believe they should be paid for the time they invest in this important work, which is often outside their working hours, but it is right that we continually review how this works in practice.

We keep a track of the levels of remuneration provided to HCPs and believe current levels of payment fairly reflect their level of expertise and specialist knowledge.

Each arrangement with an individual healthcare professional is governed by a contract, which makes it clear that Pfizer is prohibited from incentivising or rewarding healthcare professionals for their past, present or future use or support of Pfizer medicines or from influencing the outcome of any clinical trial(s) or for any other improper purpose.  

 

What are Medical and Educational Goods and Services (MEGS)? 

Through MEGS, the pharmaceutical industry provides supports projects that can be shown to provide direct value to patients or the NHS; there can be no direct benefit to the supporting pharmaceutical company.

The MEGS that we provide are in the form of financial grants or services delivered by a Pfizer colleague or a 3rd party supplier engaged by Pfizer. MEGS are intended to either enhance patient care or benefit the NHS and maintain patient care. Pfizer’s involvement is strictly limited to the provision or delivery of the MEGS grant or service and we do not expect to receive any benefit in return.

 

What details will Pfizer be disclosing about Medical and Educational Goods and Services (MEGS) to healthcare organisations? 

The ABPI Code of Practice requires that companies declare annually Medical and Educational Goods and Services (MEGS) provided to healthcare organisations, institutions and associations comprised of healthcare professionals and / or that provide healthcare or conduct research. Companies are required to publish the financial amount provided and the recipient institution.

Pfizer is committed to becoming more transparent about how we operate as a business and about the relationships we have with other organisations. We are therefore disclosing an additional level of detail which provides a brief summary about each MEGS.

We are proud to support patients and the NHS through MEGS but we do not proactively share detailed outcomes analyses of these projects; instead, the decision to share information is at the discretion of the healthcare organisations themselves.

PP-PFE-GBR-0540 / June 2017