Register of payments from pharmaceutical companies to staff

Peter J Gordon made this Freedom of Information request to Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board did not have the information requested.

Peter J Gordon

8 May 2013

Dear Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board,
Hospital trusts are reportedly meant to keep a register of payments from pharmaceutical companies (and other relevant companies) to staff, in case of conflicts of interest [1]. I am requesting a copy of the register for this Trust - which I would hope includes details of all relevant payments to staff and any related potential conflicts of interest. If it would be possible to have this information in an appropriate structured data format - for example, a CSV file - this would be helpful. If this Trust does not have a complete register, I would request: the release of the information on this topic that the Trust does hold; and an explanation of why the Trust does not hold a complete register.

I am aware that some would view data on pharmaceutical funding as personal data for those staff receiving the funding. Even if some of the information on this register may be classed as personal data (although this is contestable - for example, in some sectors of academia information re funding sources is made public as a matter of course) it would be covered by paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act. The release of these data is "necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed" [2]. Spurling et al's systematic review of how information from pharmaceutical companies impacts physicians' prescribing reported that, of the studies included which looked at total promotional investment, three "found that total promotional investment was positively associated with prescribing frequency...Two...found both positive results and no association...One study did not detect an association" [3]. There is thus a legitimate interest in releasing this register: the available research suggests that it is plausible that payments received influence how public money is spent and the type of care provided to members of the public.

For the reasons given above, there is a strong public interest in releasing this information. While "requests for the personal data of a third party are exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act...if disclosure would contravene section 10 of the Data Protection Act, the right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress" [2], I would argue that, even if some of those named in these documents feel that their release would cause them damage or distress, this is outweighed by the significant public interest served by releasing these data.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr Peter J. Gordon

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/a...
[2] http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/info...
[3] http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info...

Peter J Gordon left an annotation ()

Hospital trusts are reportedly meant to keep a register of payments from pharmaceutical companies (and other relevant companies) to staff

Peter J Gordon

Modified letter:

Dear Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board,
Hospital Boards are reportedly meant to keep a register of payments from pharmaceutical companies (and other relevant companies) to staff, in case of conflicts of interest [1]. I am requesting a copy of the register for this Board - which I would hope includes details of all relevant payments to staff and any related potential conflicts of interest. If it would be possible to have this information in an appropriate structured data format - for example, a CSV file - this would be helpful. If this Board does not have a complete register, I would request: the release of the information on this topic that the Board does hold; and an explanation of why the Board does not hold a complete register.

I am aware that some would view data on pharmaceutical funding as personal data for those staff receiving the funding. Even if some of the information on this register may be classed as personal data (although this is contestable - for example, in some sectors of academia information re funding sources is made public as a matter of course) it would be covered by paragraph 6 of Schedule 2 of the Data Protection Act. The release of these data is "necessary for the purposes of legitimate interests pursued by the data controller or by the third party or parties to whom the data are disclosed" [2]. Spurling et al's systematic review of how information from pharmaceutical companies impacts physicians' prescribing reported that, of the studies included which looked at total promotional investment, three "found that total promotional investment was positively associated with prescribing frequency...Two...found both positive results and no association...One study did not detect an association" [3]. There is thus a legitimate interest in releasing this register: the available research suggests that it is plausible that payments received influence how public money is spent and the type of care provided to members of the public.

For the reasons given above, there is a strong public interest in releasing this information. While "requests for the personal data of a third party are exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act...if disclosure would contravene section 10 of the Data Protection Act, the right to prevent processing likely to cause damage or distress" [2], I would argue that, even if some of those named in these documents feel that their release would cause them damage or distress, this is outweighed by the significant public interest served by releasing these data.

Yours Faithfully,

Dr Peter J. Gordon

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/a...
[2] http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/info...
[3] http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info...

Freedom of Information, Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gordon,

Thank you for your email.

Please note as a Scottish Puiblic Authority, we will process your request in accordance with the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) not the Freedom of Inofrmation Act 2000 (FOI). Although both acts operate under a similar regime there are some major differences. I have attached a comparison table which I hope you find helpful.

We are obliged under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 to provide any recorded information, we hold, (subject to exemptions) as quickly as possible and in all cases, within 20 working days.

We will respond as soon as possible. 
 
For more information on the Act and to use the response calculator, please visit http://www.itspublicknowledge.info

Kind regards,

Ann

Ann Catherine Wilson L.L.B.
Freedom of Information Officer
Communications department
28a Lister Street
University Hospital Crosshouse
Kilmarnock
KA2 0BE
Telephone: 01563 826112
Fax:01563 826122
Email: [NHS Ayrshire and Arran request email]

www.nhsaaa.net

Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nhsaaa and Twitter @nhsaaa
 
We use 12 point Arial in all our correspondence to make it easier for people to read.
All our publications are available in alternative formats.

 

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Freedom of Information, Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gordon,

 

Thank you for your request.

 

Q.  Hospital Boards are reportedly meant to keep a register of payments
from pharmaceutical companies (and other relevant companies) to staff, in
case of conflicts of interest . I am requesting a copy  of the register
for this Board - which I would hope includes  details of all relevant
payments to staff and any related potential  conflicts of interest. If it
would be possible to have this information in an appropriate structured
data format - for example,   a CSV file - this would be helpful. If this
Board does not have a   complete register, I would request: the release of
the information  on this topic that the Board does hold; and an
explanation of why   the Board does not hold a complete register.

 

A.  There are no payments from pharmaceutical companies on the register of
interests.

 

For a copy of the register please go to our public website -
[1]http://www.nhsaaa.net/media/190192/regin...

 

I trust this response is helpful However, under the Freedom of Information
(Scotland) Act 2002 if you are dissatisfied with our response you are
entitled to request a review. A request for a review must be made in
writing to Mr John Burns, Chief Executive, NHS Ayrshire & Arran, Eglinton
House, Ailsa Hospital, Dalmellington Road, Ayr KA6 6AB, no later than 40
working days from 3 June 2013. You must provide your name, an address for
correspondence, details of your original request and say why you want a
review. If our decision is unchanged following a review and you remain
dissatisfied with this, you then have the right to make a formal appeal to
the Scottish Information Commissioner.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further advice
or assistance.

 

Kind regards,

 

Ann

 

Ann Catherine Wilson L.L.B                    

Freedom of Information Officer

Communications dept

28a Lister
Street                                                            

University Hospital Crosshouse

Kilmarnock

KA2 0BE

Telephone: 01563 826112

Fax: 01563 826122

Email: [2][NHS Ayrshire and Arran request email]

 

[3]www.nhsaaa.net

 

Find us on Facebook at [4]www.facebook.com/nhsaaa and Twitter @nhsaaa

 

We use 12 point Arial in all our correspondence to make it easier for
people to read.

All our publications are available in alternative formats.

 

[5]newqr

 

 

References

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1. http://www.nhsaaa.net/media/190192/regin...
2. mailto:[NHS Ayrshire and Arran request email]
mailto:[NHS Ayrshire and Arran request email]
3. http://www.nhsaaa.net/
4. http://www.facebook.com/nhsaaa
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Dear Freedom of Information Ayrshire & Arran NHS Board,

Thank you for your reply, which I quote:
"There are NO payments from pharmaceutical companies on the register of interests."

"For a copy of the register please go to our public website -"
[1]http://www.nhsaaa.net/media/190192/regin...

The link is to a Register of Board Memebers Interests and is NOT a general Hospitality Register for NHS employees generally. Do you have such a Register and can you provide a link to it? This is a requirement set out in the Scottish Government in: "A Common Understanding 2012: Working together for Patients: Guidance on Joint Working between NHS-Scotland and the Pharmaceutical Industry" The link to this is here: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/0040...

Yours sincerely,

Peter J Gordon

Freedom of Information, Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board

Dear Mr Gordon,

Please accept my apologies for our failure to provided you with the information you had requested. I will go back to the relevant department and ask then to provide the correct information.

I will get back to you shortly.

Kind regards,

Ann

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Dear Freedom of Information,

Many thanks indeed. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

Peter J Gordon

Dear Ayrshire & Arran NHS Board,

I note you have not yet replied to the FOI request Register of payments from pharmaceutical companies to staff, as normally required by law.

This is just a polite reminder

Yours sincerely,

Peter J Gordon

Freedom of Information, Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board

2 Attachments

Dear Mr Gordon,

Please be assured it is on my radar. I apologise for the delay in providing a response. I would hope to have your respond to you by the early next week at the very latest.

As we have failed to comply with Part 1 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA), by failing to respond to your request for information within the timescale required by section 10(1) of FOISA, you have a valid reason to request a review. I will provide you with the information as stated above but this does not remove your right to request a review. I have attached the Scottish Information Commissioner's (SIC) booklet - 'Your right to know'. To make an appeal to the SIC you must first ask us for a review. Page 24 gives examples of when you can ask for a review.

I have also attached our complaints procedure leaflet.

Kind regards,

Ann

Ann Catherine Wilson L.L.B.
Freedom of Information Officer
Communications department
28a Lister Street
University Hospital Crosshouse
Kilmarnock
KA2 0BE
Telephone: 01563 826112
Fax:01563 826122
Email: [NHS Ayrshire and Arran request email]

www.nhsaaa.net

Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nhsaaa
 
We use 12 point Arial in all our correspondence to make it easier for people to read.
All our publications are available in alternative formats.

 

show quoted sections

Dear Ann, Freedom of Information,
Early next week is fine. Thank you for your help.

Yours sincerely,

Peter J Gordon

Freedom of Information, Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Gordon,

I am sorry for the misunderstanding and the delay in providing you with a response.

Discussions are ongoing to create a register to encompass the whole organisation in line with the guidance - A Common Understanding 2012 working together for patients -guidance on joint working between NHSScotland and the Pharmaceutical Industry.

The attached 'declaration of interests' register relates to the Area and Drugs Therapeutics Committee, its sub groups and anyone submitting a guideline. We are in the process of updating our Model Publication Scheme to include this register which will be published on our public website.

Please get back to me if I can be of any further assistance.

Kind regards,

Ann

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