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 introduced new incentives for sales professionals:

  • From January 2015, no customer facing GSK sales professionals or their managers have been 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 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 have continued to support HCP attendance to scientific conferences, but at arm’s length through independent third parties. HCPs may apply directly to the third party who will decide which HCPs receive funding. 

Thirdly, we stopped direct payments to healthcare professionals to speak on our behalf from 2016: 

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

HCPs will remain valuable partners for GSK, and we 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