The disclosure of ‘transfers of value’ in the life sciences sector

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Investigations have recently been reported into allegations that millions of pounds worth of bribes have been paid to boost drug sales in China. This has focused attention sharply on the rules regarding transfers of value between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals and their organisations. Whether there has been any offence committed under the Bribery Act 2010 in the recent example is unclear. However, it is a reminder that having in place a suitable international anti-bribery policy is essential for a company wishing to show that it has ‘adequate procedures’ in place to prevent bribery.

For pharmaceutical companies used to complying with the ABPI’s code, the advent of the Bribery Act two years ago required them to take a step back and consider the potential bribery risks connected with their businesses in a broader context than just the code. However, in a climate of ongoing concern about a lack of transparency, the code is itself now due to be strengthened to require greater disclosure relating to ‘transfers of value’.

This follows the release by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) on 2 July 2013 of its disclosure code on transfers of value to healthcare professionals (HCPs) and healthcare organisations (HCOs). The code requires all members of EFPIA to disclose transfers of value to HCPs and HCOs as of 2016 regarding all transfers in 2015…

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