The British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline has announced that they will stop paying doctors to promote their products and will make further changes to their compensation system for sales representatives by removing individual sales targets. The goal is to align the company’s activities with the interests of patients. GlaxoSmithKline is the first of the pharmaceutical companies to make such an announcement. Instead, GlaxoSmithKline will base sales representatives compensation on the quality of health service they provide to patients.
In the last few years, pharmaceutical companies have been under a lot of heat for their aggressive marketing tactics. Therefore, the company feels that doctors speaking on their behalf at medical conferences needs to stop. This conflict of interest can directly influence audience members capable of prescribing or influence prescribing in general. In addition to these changes, GlaxoSmithKline will also stop compensating healthcare professionals for attending these conferences—a practice that is already prohibited in the U.S., and will instead use that money to educate healthcare professionals through independent educational grants.
Many in the pharmaceutical field applaud GlaxoSmithKline for taking such measures on this issue, however others question whether a recent U.S. investigation that resulted in three criminal charges and $3 billion in penalties against GlaxoSmithKline could have all led up to this. CEO Andrew Witty assures that this move is being put in place on only to ensure that GSK is “responding to the needs of patients and meeting the wide expectations of society.” Witty also mentioned that GSK will continue to pay doctors for market research because it is important to gain insight and feedback from doctors on their drugs, however this compensation will be limited.
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