Joint working between one or more pharmaceutical companies and the NHS and others is acceptable provided that this is carried out in a manner compatible with the Code. Joint working must always benefit patients.
A formal written agreement must be in place and an executive summary of the joint working agreement must be made publicly available before arrangements are implemented. Transfers of value made by companies in connection with joint working must be publicly disclosed.
Back to top
Clause 20 Joint Working
The Department of Health defines joint working between the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry as situations where, for the benefit of patients, one or more pharmaceutical companies and the NHS pool skills, experience and/or resources for the joint development and implementation of patient centred projects and share a commitment to successful delivery. Each party must make a significant contribution and the outcomes must be measured. Treatments must be in line with nationally accepted clinical guidance where such exists. Joint working between the pharmaceutical industry and the NHS must be conducted in an open and transparent manner. Joint working must be for the benefit of patients but it is expected that the arrangements will also benefit the NHS and the pharmaceutical company or companies involved. Joint working differs from the situation where pharmaceutical companies simply provide funds for a specific event or programme.
The Department of Health has issued Best practice guidance on joint working between the NHS and pharmaceutical industry and other relevant commercial organisations. The Department of Health and the ABPI have jointly issued Moving beyond sponsorship: interactive toolkit for joint working between the NHS and the pharmaceutical industry. The ABPI has produced guidance notes on joint working between pharmaceutical companies and the NHS and others for the benefit of patients. The ABPI Guidance refers to the requirements of the Code but goes well beyond them. When considering joint working, companies should take account of the guidance which has been issued by the ABPI and the Department of Health. Joint working is acceptable in principle provided that it is carried out in conformity with the Code. In particular, it must not constitute an inducement to health professionals or other relevant decision makers to prescribe, supply, recommend, buy or sell any medicine. It must therefore always be ensured that any and all of the benefits of joint working which are due to the NHS, go not to individuals or practices but to an NHS or other organisation. A joint working agreement can be based on the use of a particular medicine of a company party to the agreement, but only if the requirements below are complied with and only if the parties have satisfied themselves that the use of the medicine will enhance patient care. Goods and services provided by the company as part of the joint working agreement must be relevant to the medicines involved and the agreement as a whole must be fair and reasonable. Any goods and services provided by the company must themselves contribute to patient care. The written agreement must cover the following points:
Back to top
Clause 20 Disclosure
The information required by Clause
20 as to transfers of value must be publicly disclosed in relation to transfers of value made in 2015 and each calendar year thereafter, giving in each case the financial amount or value and the name of the recipient. Companies must ensure that the amount spent on joint working projects is made public irrespective of whether the value is transferred to a healthcare organisation or some other funding model is used. Disclosure must be carried out in accordance with Clause
Back to top