Interactions with prescribers

In all of our interactions with healthcare professionals, our priority is to be transparent about our work, operate with integrity, and always put the interests of patients first.

Pharmaceutical companies have an important role to play in providing healthcare professionals (HCPs) with accurate, high quality information about prescription medicines and vaccines.

We believe this relationship is fundamental to the progress of medical science and to help meet patient and public health needs.

We also recognise a growing concern that the way the industry currently provides information and education to HCPs may be perceived to inappropriately influence prescribing decisions. 

At the end of 2013 we announced three industry-leading changes to reform the way we interact with doctors.

Even the perception of a conflict of interest can undermine the trust patients have in the information about medicines being provided to them by their doctors, and we must work to safeguard against that.

At the end of 2013 we announced three industry leading changes to reform the way we interact with doctors to address these concerns. We want patients to be confident that whenever they are prescribed a GSK medicine or vaccine by their doctor, that decision was based on sound scientific and medical expertise. 

Firstly, we have introduced new incentives for sales professionals:

  • From January 2015, no customer facing GSK sales professionals or their managers are being financially incentivised based on individual sales targets. Our sales professionals are now incentivised based on their technical knowledge, the quality of service they deliver to HCPs to support improved patient care and a broader set of business performance measures.

Secondly, we will support independent medical education in new ways:

  • We believe the industry plays a valuable role in supporting delivery of medical education to provide healthcare professionals with information on disease, diagnosis and treatment.  Our commitment to medical education is unchanged. We will continue to support HCP attendance to scientific conferences, but at arm’s length through independent third parties. HCPs will be able to apply directly to the third party who will decide which HCPs receive funding. 

Thirdly, we are stopping direct payments to healthcare professionals to speak on our behalf by 2016: 

  • To help address any concerns about undue influence on prescriber behaviour and to introduce more transparency into our marketing and educational efforts, we’re topping payments to healthcare professionals to speak on GSK’s behalf about our prescription medicines and vaccines. Instead, we’re developing new digital, personal and real-time applications to improve our delivery of information to healthcare professionals. The expert medical doctors we have within GSK will have more time to talk with and answer questions about our medicines with their external peers. 

HCPs will remain valuable partners for GSK, and beyond 2016 we will continue to pay HCPs for non-promotional activities that we could not do without them. These include:

  • Conducting GSK-sponsored clinical research
  • Advisory activities and market research which provide us with essential insights on specific diseases and patient care