Stage 1: Laying the groundwork for working together
Questions for consumer health organisations
When a health consumer organisation has never worked with a pharmaceutical company before, it may be useful for the managing body (e.g. the board) to consider:
- Have we considered the benefits and risks of working with pharmaceutical companies?
- Should we consult directly with our members before we start working with pharmaceutical companies?
- Are there other HCOs that already work with pharmaceutical companies that we can learn from?
If we decide to work together with one or more research-based pharmaceutical companies:
- What will we do to ensure our independence?
- Will any funding arrangements be perceived as inappropriate? Why?
- How will any funding we receive affect our sustainability?
- Who in our organisation will manage our relationship(s) with research-based pharmaceutical companies?
- What legal advice do we need to obtain before written agreements are signed?
- How will we handle medical and scientific information that we may receive? Can we establish or involve medical advisors to our organisation?
- How will we publicly acknowledge our relationships with pharmaceutical companies?
Many health consumer organisations will formulate a policy or a framework for interaction on working with pharmaceutical companies that addresses these issues.
Questions for pharmaceutical companies
- Which department(s) in our company will be involved in relationships with health consumer organisations?
- What internal processes need to be followed before the relationships can be confirmed and formalised?
- Is our commitment to be long or short term?
- Will the collaboration deliver on either/both of the following:
- contribute to enhancing the quality use of medicines
- improve patient welfare or outcomes
Consider the International Alliance of Patients Organizations (IAPO’s) two key documents that address issues of transparency and independence:
- ‘Framework for interaction’
- ‘Project agreement’