On 29 June 2017, the Belgian transparency register betransparent.be issued its second annual publication. Betransparent.be is the self-regulatory platform, jointly developed by the pharmaceutical and medical devices industry, on which companies that are members of the respective industry associations annually publish transfers of value made to Belgian healthcare professionals and organisations (see our previous blog post: Belgian transparency register goes live).
In the first annual publication, dated June 2016, only member companies of pharma.be (the pharmaceutical industry association) published the transfers of value made to healthcare professionals. This year’s publication however, also included information from beMedTech members (the medical devices industry association) and FeBelGen companies (the generics and biosimilars association). The members of Bachi (representing the over-the-counter industry) have committed to submitting information for the purposes of next year’s publication. This makes Belgium one of the only EU countries with a truly cross-sectoral transparency register.
More than 3,500 healthcare professionals agreed to have their personal data published in the register this year, which constitutes a 17% increase compared to 2016. The publication contained information from 198 pharmaceutical companies concerning transfers of value made in 2016. The register shows that they invested a total of just under EUR 170 million in scientific collaborations with Belgian healthcare professionals and organisations, of which:
- 61% related to research and development (R&D).
- 19% related to participation in and organisation of scientific events.
- 13% was made up of donations and grants.
- 7% was associated with services.
The types of investments varied significantly between sectors (for example, members of the association pharma.be invested significantly in R&D as opposed to scientific events, while the opposite was true for members of FeBelGen).
To date this information has been disclosed on a voluntary basis. However, the so-called Sunshine Act, which entered into force on 23 June 2017, renders disclosure mandatory as of the next publication in June 2018 for transfers of value made during the year 2017 (see our previous blog post: Belgian Sunshine Act enters into force).
A prior version of this post was originally published by the same authors in Practical Law – Life Sciences, July 2017 Issue (Thomson Reuters).