To ask the Secretary of State for Health what rules apply to (a) consultants and (b) general practitioners working within the NHS in respect of the receipt by them of (i) gifts from drug companies and (ii) attendances at seminars or similar events outside the UK, where such events are financed by drug companies.
Measures to prohibit both the offer by pharmaceutical companies of financial or other inducements to prescribe medicines and their acceptance by consultants and general practitioners are contained in the Medicines (Advertising) Regulations 1994. Where medicines are being promoted to them, the regulations prohibit the offer or acceptance of any gift, pecuniary advantage or benefit in kind unless it is inexpensive and relevant to the practice of medicine. The regulations permit the acceptance by health professionals of hospitality at meetings, provided it is strictly limited to the scientific or promotional purpose of the meeting.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency investigates complaints under the regulations. This is supported by industry self-regulation under the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry code of practice for the pharmaceutical industry.
Allegations of the acceptance of a prohibited inducement may also be referred to the General Medical Council.