The code is to be revised following the publication of a European-wide code. The changes will be implemented by July 2008.
As part of new requirements, pharmaceutical companies will be asked to include a short description of the nature of the support provided to patient organisations. Financial backing and indirect non-financial support must also be declared.
Tina Funnell, organiser of the network of health organisations and pharmaceutical companies called The Health Coalition, said patient groups were pleased with the amendments to the code.
‘Anything that simplifies the relationship between pharmas and patient groups is welcomed. There have been problems with companies interpreting the rules differently, so they welcome the consistency.’
The code, which sets out rules to govern the behaviour of UK-based pharma companies, is required to include all the provisions of the EU code. Most of the new provisions are already requirements in the ABPI code but some still need to be incorporated.
‘Our code is one of the most rigorous in the world, and it is reviewed every two to three years to ensure it remains fit for purpose,’ said ABPI president Nigel Brooksby.