GSK first in Australia with new business model for the pharmaceutical industry

GSK is leading the pharmaceutical sector by being first in Australia to introduce a new framework for its medical education program and interactions with healthcare professionals to increase transparency.

The changes represent a fundamental shift in the GSK business model and will come into effect in Australia for 2016.

The three key changes which come into effect on January 1st 2016 are:

  1. Increasing peer-to-peer discussions with GSK medics: As technical experts on our medicines and vaccines we’re responsible for explaining them.  We have increased the number of doctors and academics that are part of our team to provide educational support.
  2. Moving to independent medical education: Medical education will continue to be supported by GSK where educational gaps are identified and third parties have robust propositions to address them. The main change is that this support will now be at “arm’s length” via medical education partners with no involvement from GSK.
  3. Stopping direct payments to healthcare professionals: GSK has now phased out payments to healthcare professionals to speak on GSK’s behalf about our prescription medicines and vaccines or the diseases they help to treat or prevent.Instead GSK medical staff, as experts on our products, will have an increased role in external communication.

According to Dr Andrew Weekes, Medical Director of GSK Australia Pharmaceuticals, these changes are the latest steps in a decade long journey to reform GSK’s business model.

“In order to make informed decisions about patient care, doctors want access to high quality information.  When it comes to GSK medicines and vaccines, and particularly new medicines and vaccines, the subject matter expertise and therefore the responsibility to communicate lies with us.

“Whilst we implement innovative ways to meet the information needs of doctors we need to be mindful that information provided by industry may be perceived as conflicted.

“Strengthening the GSK medical team to include staff that are peers of the audiences they speak to is an important step in responding to this concern.  Increased transparency about when GSK is providing education and when the provider and programme are completely independent of GSK are further steps in the right direction.

“In all of our interactions with healthcare professionals, our priority is to be transparent, operate with integrity, and always put the interests of patients first,” said Dr Weekes.

GSK has continued to lead the Australian pharmaceutical sector in issues related to transparency and healthcare professional interaction. In 2011 GSK became the first Australian pharmaceutical company to disclose the total amount of fees paid to Australian healthcare professionals for speaking and consulting services. This has become mandatory under the latest Medicines Australia Code.

In addition, from January 2015, no GSK representatives or their managers are 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 doctors to support improved patient care and a broader set of business performance measures.

Healthcare professionals will remain valuable partners for GSK in the long term in our endeavours to bring new medicines to Australian patients.  We will continue to work with and to pay fair market remuneration to doctors and academics for non-promotional activities that we could not do without their expertise, such as research, provision of advice and/or insights via market research.

Media enquiries:

Bernadette Murdoch
Communications Director Australasia
Phone: 0449 950 745