On 20 January 2014, a joint event was hosted by the International Alliance for Patients’ Organizations (IAPO), International Council of Nurses (ICN), International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) and the World Medical Association (WMA) in Geneva to introduce and sign the Consensus Framework for Ethical Collaboration between Patients’ Organizations, Healthcare Professionals and the Pharmaceutical Industry. The keynote address was given by Dr. Edward Kelley, Director, Service Delivery and Safety, Health Systems and Innovation Cluster at the World Health Organization, and was followed by statements by senior representatives from IAPO, ICN, IFPMA, FIP and WMA. The Consensus Framework was formally adopted in a signing ceremony.
The Consensus Framework aims to complement the various national, regional and global codes and guidelines and to serve as a model for similar joint initiatives between patients’ organizations, healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical industry associations at the national level. The Consensus Framework and accompanying resources are intended to serve as a toolkit for any organization (e.g. associations, companies, and alliances) that wish to develop their own policies. The Consensus Framework does not aim to be comprehensive or binding and has no formal enforcement mechanism.
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Derived from the individual codes of ethical practice and health policy positions of the five supporting organizations, this framework is based on four overarching principles:
(1) putting patients first;
(2) supporting ethical research and innovation;
(3) ensuring independence and ethical conduct; and
(4) promoting transparency and accountability.
The Consensus Framework for Ethical Collaboration between Patients’ Organizations, Healthcare Professionals and the Pharmaceutical Industry can be found here. The codes of practice for each supporting organization are available at IAPO, ICN, IFPMA, FIP, WMA.
According to the Framework:
“As developed and developing countries strive to address pressing health challenges in the complex and fast-evolving healthcare environment, collaboration between all partners is essential in ensuring proper delivery of the most appropriate care for patients worldwide.
In the 1980s international codes and guidelines were approved including the first IFPMA Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices in 1981 and the WHO Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion in 1985. Since then progress has been made to ensure appropriate interactions and ethical promotion of medicines globally, including through self-regulatory and voluntary mechanisms such as codes of conduct and principles. These highlight the need for patients’ organizations, healthcare professionals, and the pharmaceutical industry to work together for the benefit of patients, while recognizing each other’s professional role in the context of the healthcare value delivery chain and maintaining their professional independence.
There is an important link between patients, healthcare professionals, the pharmaceutical industry and their organizations in providing best solutions to patients’ health needs and each partner has a unique role and responsibility in ensuring that patients receive the most appropriate care. Patients must be informed and empowered to, along with their caregivers, decide on the most appropriate treatment options for their individual health needs and to participate responsibly in use of health resources and managing their own health. In this respect, healthcare professionals must ensure that the treatment options they offer to patients are appropriate. In turn, the pharmaceutical industry has a duty to provide accurate, fair, and scientifically grounded information for their products, so that the responsible use of medicines can be facilitated.”