Commissioning

05.01.18

NHSCC hits back at drug company conflict of interest claim

NHS Clinical Commissioners (NHSCC) have disputed any claims of wrongdoing on behalf of CCGs which accept payments from pharmaceutical companies without fully disclosing the information to the public.

An investigation run by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found that only two thirds of the 4600 payments made from private companies and charities between 2015 and 2017 were listed in registers and declarations by CCGs.

Responding to the investigation, the NHSCC says there are very well-defined guidelines on conflicts of interest and that both itself and NHS England have been clear that securing the right kind of sponsorships from private organisations helps to offset costs to medical services.

In a statement, the organisation said: “Managing conflicts of interest in the NHS is not new. CCGs must have strong governance plans in place to maintain confidence in the probity of their own commissioning and how they are spending the NHS pound.

“NHS England have set out some very clear guidelines on managing conflicts of interest and as statutory bodies, CCGs have a clear responsibility to work within those guidelines.

“This BMJ investigation seems to imply that there is some wrong doing on the part of CCGs by working with external companies and pharmaceutical organisations, which we would strongly challenge.”

Listed in the items which have been disclosed are a number of payments from private organisations for things such as concert tickets and sports tickets, on behalf of property developers, hospitality companies and even universities.

Nearly three quarters of the money which came into CCGs from drug companies was in the form of sponsorship for education and training, but because of changes to the recommended guidance sent out by NHS England in June 2017 some of the information was not disclosed in the ways which would now be considered appropriate.

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