The European Generics Medicines Association is undergoing a "rebranding" of sorts. They recently changed their name to "Medicines for Europe," and have expanded into value added medicines, "aimed at optimizing, rethinking, and reinventing existing medicines based on known molecules, addressing unmet medical needs of patients through improved care delivery systems."
In addition to the aforementioned changes, Medicines for Europe also recently published their Code of Conduct, which requires reporting for physician payments starting in 2018 for payments made in 2017. The Code is similar to the EFPIA Code, and in 2018, there will be one system for Europe.
Disclosing Transfers of Value
The Code requires that Medicines for Europe member companies disclose Transfers of Value that "could potentially pose a conflict of interest, or to encourage the recipients of the transfers of value to disclose them, where such disclosure would be in the best interest of patients or the public." Such mandated disclosures also include Transfers of Value made by a third party on behalf of a Medicines for Europe member company for the benefit of a recipient, when the Medicines for Europe member company knows about the recipient who will benefit.
Transfers of Value to be reported are allocated to different categories under the Medicines for Europe Code. Any Transfers of Value that are not listed in the Code are not required to be disclosed.
Transfers of Value to Patient Organizations
These transfers, made up of both financial and in-kind support, shall be disclosed on an individual, named basis. The reporting shall include fee for services, including a description of the nature of the Transfer of Value and the amount provided.
Transfers of Value to Healthcare Professionals
This includes fees for services and for consultancy: aggregated honoraria paid by a Company to a Healthcare Professional in exchange for providing services (not including meals, drinks, travel, and accommodation). These may include items such as: serving as an expert on an advisory board, speaking at a company-organized educational event, or participating in a focus group. Fees paid in connection with research and development are not included with this group.
Meetings, Educational Support, and Site Visits
For these forms of Transfers of Value, members have their choice of one of two options for disclosure.
Option one: member companies must report the total number (not actual monetary value) of events, for which individual healthcare professionals have received support. Support shall be disclosed per individual healthcare professional in the following categories: sponsorship for attending a third party organized congress (must be indicated whether the event is local/domestic, within Europe or outside of Europe); site visits; and company organized meetings for which a healthcare professional receives company funded hotel accommodation and/or airplane travel.
The second option requires companies to report the aggregate total amount of support provided to healthcare professionals per individual conference or meeting as follows: sponsorship for attending a third party organized congress (including the name of the congress, the aggregated amount spent for the congress, and the number of healthcare professionals financially supported to attend); site visits (including the aggregated amount spent and the number of healthcare professionals financially supported to attend); company organized meetings (including the aggregated amount spend and the number of healthcare professionals financially supported to attend); and transfers of value to healthcare organizations (including fees for services and consultancy and the aggregated monetary amounts of any grants or donations, along with a brief description of the nature of the grant or donation).
In addition to its disclosure, each Medicines for Europe member company shall publish a note summarizing the methodology they applied in preparing the disclosure and identifying Transfers of Value for each category. It is recommended that companies include the VAT and any other taxes in the disclosure amount, as required by local laws and regulations. Companies are also advised to make their disclosures in Euro and local currency.
Other Sections including Hospitality
Other sections of their newly adopted code of conduct include that companies can only pay for coach class tickets on flights for conference attendees, consultants and speakers except for exceptional circumstances and a prohibition on stopovers. Consulting payments must be made at fair market value. They adopted a prohibition on standalone hospitality and entertainment. A ban on luxury hotels, resorts, venues known for their entertainment or recreational value, or extravagant venues even if they cost less than normal hotels or venues.
The criteria for supporting educational events includes:
- Therapeutic areas of interest to the company;
- Healthcare Professional's expertise, knowledge, experience, areas of scientific or medical interest, and related educational needs;
- Geographic location of the Healthcare Professional and distance to the educational event;
- Alternative educational opportunities;
- The reputation, means and need of the institution employing the Healthcare Professional;
- Reputation and standing of the Healthcare Professional in the scientific or medical community
- Experience with a company's products may be considered in connection with company-sponsored third party events and company-Organized Meetings;
- Potential impact on the quality of patient care; and
- The ability, willingness and likelihood of the recipient to further share the knowledge gained with others.
This reporting requirement differs from the Code promulgated by MedTech Europe (an alliance of European medical technology associations, formed by EDMA and Eucomed), which does not require reporting. It will be interesting to see if reporting requirements and transparency start to become newsmakers in the medical device and medical technology world the same way they have in the pharmaceutical world.
Medicines for Europe Code of Conduct
Medicines for Europe Code of Conduct Q&A
Medicines for Europe Enforcement Guidelines