Register of payments from pharmaceutical companies to staff

Jonathan Mendel made this Freedom of Information request to Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

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The request was successful.

Dear Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust,

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 Jonathan Mendel

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

Staton Janet (ICT Services), Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

1 Attachment

Dear Dr Mendal

Please find the attached letter

Thank you

Janet Staton
Freedom of Information Administrator
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
The information contained in this email may be the subject of public disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 - unless legally exempt from disclosure, the
confidentiality of this email and your reply cannot be guaranteed.

Copyright of this email and any attachments created by us remains vested in the
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for
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Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
City Hospital campus | Hucknall Road | Nottingham | NG5 1PB | Tel: 0115 969 1169
QMC campus | Derby Road | Nottingham | NG7 2UH | Tel: 0115 924 9924

If you have received this email in error please notify the sender.

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Tracking ID: B516be32a0000.000000000001.0002.mml - 12:23:22 15/04/2013

Staton Janet (ICT Services), Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

5 Attachments

Dear Dr Medel

Please find the attached documents for your response details

Thank you

Janet Staton
Freedom of Information Administrator
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
The information contained in this email may be the subject of public disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 - unless legally exempt from disclosure, the
confidentiality of this email and your reply cannot be guaranteed.

Copyright of this email and any attachments created by us remains vested in the
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by
anti-virus software for the presence of known computer viruses.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
City Hospital campus | Hucknall Road | Nottingham | NG5 1PB | Tel: 0115 969 1169
QMC campus | Derby Road | Nottingham | NG7 2UH | Tel: 0115 924 9924

If you have received this email in error please notify the sender.

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Tracking ID: B517632d20000.000000000001.0002.mml - 08:05:56 23/04/2013

Staton Janet (ICT Services), Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

Staton Janet (ICT Services) would like to recall the message, "Freedom of Information request NUH 12718".
The information contained in this email may be the subject of public disclosure under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000 - unless legally exempt from disclosure, the
confidentiality of this email and your reply cannot be guaranteed.

Copyright of this email and any attachments created by us remains vested in the
Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.

This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for
the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed.

This footnote also confirms that this email message has been swept by
anti-virus software for the presence of known computer viruses.

Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust
City Hospital campus | Hucknall Road | Nottingham | NG5 1PB | Tel: 0115 969 1169
QMC campus | Derby Road | Nottingham | NG7 2UH | Tel: 0115 924 9924

If you have received this email in error please notify the sender.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Tracking ID: B517634110000.000000000001.0001.mml - 08:11:14 23/04/2013

Dear Ms Staton,

Thanks for the detailed reply - very much appreciated. From a skim, this looks very helpful. I shall be in touch if anything further is needed.

Yours sincerely,

Jonathan Mendel