We want all patients to receive the best possible medical treatment. To achieve this, it is essential that research institutes, physicians, patient organizations, and other key actors in health systems have access to detailed and current information on diseases and treatments. We help facilitate this access by sponsoring independent initiatives and medical capacity advancement programs, and by donating money and supplies. In addition, we promote outstanding research projects. Since transparency is always our number one priority, we provide detailed reports on donations and activity sponsorship. Furthermore, we are committed to various voluntary requirements within our industry.
Statutory and voluntary requirements
We explicitly endeavor to exert no influence over financial or non-financial contributions, nor over the information communicated to key actors in healthcare systems. Consequently, we have committed ourselves to providing transparency. In all transfers of value, we comply with the principles set forth by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) in its “Code on disclosure of transfers of value from pharmaceutical companies to healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations”. We also adhere to statutory transparency requirements worldwide, such as the stipulations of the Sunshine Laws in the United States, or the Loi Bertrand in France.
Transparently promoting research and education
To support health systems, we make monetary contributions and donate supplies to institutions such as professional medical associations, hospitals and university clinics. These contributions are expressly not intended to influence decisions regarding treatment, prescriptions or purchasing. On our website, we publish all relevant payments to partners in the health industry as well as our R&D spending in the relevant countries. This practice aligns with the code of conduct of the German Association for the Voluntary Self-Regulation of the Pharmaceutical Industry (FSA), as well as the codes of conduct of the pharmaceutical associations in the member states of the EFPIA. We update the disclosed information on an annual basis.
Furthermore, we sponsor research and continuing medical education around the world in order to contribute to medical advances that will benefit patients. Through our Grants for Innovation, we support research projects in fertility, multiple sclerosis, oncology, and growth disorders. Through our Global Medical Education unit, we also provide grants to continuing medical education providers, enabling them to develop and deliver advanced medical training for scientists, physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals. We conduct these efforts in a transparent fashion. All direct and indirect financial aid aligns with the principles of the EFPIA.
Partnering with patient advocacy groups
Patient advocacy groups support patients, family members and care givers, providing them with information on disease management. Just like these organizations, we have set ourselves the goal of improving patient quality of life, which is why we endeavor to support their crucial work. We explicitly strive to exert no influence or control over the information that the organizations communicate to their members. We provide the highest level of transparency on our donations by publishing the details of contributions to European patient organizations on our website. This information is updated annually, which enables us to fulfill the commitment we made through our membership in the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). In 2016, we published a new Group-wide guideline entitled “Good Practice and Process Guidance: Engagement with Patients, Patient Opinion Leaders and Patient Organizations”. This document governs our interactions with patients and patient advocacy groups worldwide except in the United States, where a separate regulation applies. It furthermore ensures that patient wellbeing is considered.
First report in line with transparency initiative requirements
Since 2016, companies in the EU have been required to publish all financial and non-financial contributions to medical professionals and organizations in the healthcare industry not related to research activities. As set out in the transparency initiative of the EFPIA, the information provided must include the name and address of the individual recipient as well as the purpose and amount of the transfer. In 2015, our work focused on informing our partners in the health industry just how important the transparency initiative is to us. We also took steps to ensure data quality and data privacy in all affected countries. At the end of 2016, we reported for the first time in line with the new requirements. Currently, we are involved in new legislative initiatives launched in several European countries as part of the transparency initiative, which will impact our reporting process as of 2017. We will ensure that we fulfill all requirements.