(The following press release from GSK was received by e-mail. It was not
confirmed by the sender.)
GSK announces changes to its global sales and marketing practices to further
ensure patient interests come first
- Company to roll out new sales force compensation programme, removing
individual sales targets
- Begins process to end direct payments to healthcare professionals for
speaking engagements or attendance at medical conferences by start of 2016
GSK today set out plans to evolve the way it sells and markets its products to
healthcare professionals to further align the company’s activities with the
interests of patients.
During 2014, the company will implement a new compensation system which will
apply to all GSK sales employees who work directly with prescribing healthcare
professionals. The company also intends to begin a consultative process towards
stopping direct payments to healthcare professionals for speaking engagements
and for attendance at medical conferences. At the same time, the company will
increase its focus on developing its multi-channel capability and alternative
approaches to enable it to continue to provide appropriate information about
its products and to support medical education for healthcare professionals.
Sir Andrew Witty, CEO of GSK said: “We believe that it is imperative that we
continue to actively challenge our business model at every level to ensure we
are responding to the needs of patients and meeting the wider expectations of
society. Over the past five years, this has seen us take significant steps to
increase access to medicines in developing countries and to be more transparent
with our clinical trial data. We’ve also made changes to how we work with
healthcare professionals. Building on this, today we are outlining a further
set of measures to modernise our relationship with healthcare professionals.
These are designed to bring greater clarity and confidence that whenever we
talk to a doctor, nurse or other prescriber, it is patients’ interests that
always come first. We recognise that we have an important role to play in
providing doctors with information about our medicines, but this must be done
clearly, transparently and without any perception of conflict of interest.”
Global sales force compensation changes
The new compensation programme will have no individual sales targets. Instead,
GSK’s sales professionals who work directly with prescribing healthcare
professionals will be evaluated and rewarded for their technical knowledge, the
quality of the service they deliver to support improved patient care and the
overall performance of GSK’s business. The aim is for this new compensation
system to be in place in all of the countries GSK operates in by early 2015.
These changes have been informed by a similar programme successfully introduced
by GSK in the USA in 2011. The ‘Patient First’ programme bases compensation for
sales professionals who work directly with prescribing healthcare professionals
on a blend of qualitative measures and the overall performance of their
business, rather than the number of prescriptions generated. Experiences in the
last two years suggest that this more patient-focused approach has
significantly improved both customer interactions and satisfaction rates with
GSK’s US pharmaceutical business.
Payments to healthcare professionals
GSK also announced today the start of a two-year process during which it will
make a number of changes to how it works with healthcare professionals.
GSK has an important role to play in supporting education for healthcare
professionals and in providing accurate information about its medicines to help
them make the best treatment decision for their patients, such as sharing new
clinical data, details of label changes or safety updates. Recognising this,
the company will direct additional focus and investment to:
· Strengthen its own dedicated medical and scientific capability to
appropriately lead engagement with healthcare professionals
· Improve GSK’s multi-channel capability, including use of digital
technologies, to ensure appropriate product and disease area information can be
provided to healthcare professionals conveniently
· Support fair, balanced and objective medical education for healthcare
professionals through provision of independent educational grants.
At the same time, the company will move to end the practice of paying
healthcare professionals to speak on its behalf, about its products or disease
areas, to audiences who can prescribe or influence prescribing.
GSK will also stop providing financial support directly to individual
healthcare professionals to attend medical conferences and instead will fund
education for healthcare professionals through unsolicited, independent
educational grant routes.
The company intends to work through the practical details of these changes with
healthcare professionals, medical organisations and patient interest groups to
define how they can be implemented effectively and in line with local laws and
regulations. This consultation will begin in early 2014, with the aim for the
changes to be in place across GSK’s global business by the start of 2016.
GSK will continue to provide appropriate fees for services to healthcare
professionals for GSK sponsored clinical research, advisory activities and
market research. These activities are essential in providing GSK with insights
on specific diseases; identification of symptoms and diagnosis; application of
clinical trial data or medication dosage and administration; and how to
effectively and appropriately communicate the benefits and risks of its
medicines to help meet patient needs.
The company will also continue to invest in community programmes to strengthen
healthcare infrastructure, particularly in least developed countries.
The company has committed to disclose the payments it makes to healthcare
professionals and already does so in several countries including the USA,
Australia, UK, Japan and France in line with locally agreed government or
industry association standards. GSK will continue to disclose the payments it
makes for clinical research advisory activities and market research in these
countries and will also continue to work towards transparency in other
countries as industry associations or governments establish specific guidelines
Notes to editors
· The new compensation system will apply to all GSK sales employees who
work directly with prescribing healthcare professionals. Implementation of the
new system will start in certain countries from January 2014 with the aim for
it to be in place in all of the countries GSK operates in by early 2015,
subject to local consultation and in accordance with local employment laws.
· These latest moves build on the steps already taken by GSK to increase
access to medicines and operate more openly and transparently. GSK topped the
Access to Medicines Index for the third consecutive time in 2012, an
independent and robust measure of how pharmaceutical companies perform on
improving access to medicines in the world’s poorest countries.
· Earlier this year, GSK launched a new online system to enable
researchers to access anonymised patient level data from its clinical trials.
The company has also signed up to the AllTrials campaign for clinical trial
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