The Department of Health (DH) have issued a new protocol advising government ministers and political advisers not to engage directly with representatives of the pharmaceutical industry in relation to the price and supply of medicines.
“The purpose of this Protocol is to set out the policy for future engagement with pharmaceutical market participants and advisers, and the procedure to be followed when any requests for meetings with officials of any Government Department, including advisers to Departments or Ministers, where the principal purpose of the meeting is to discuss any issues relating to the pricing and supply of medicines, are received from: (i) banking, financial, legal, PR, management consulting or any other kind of professional services companies; and/or (ii) any individual or organisation that is, or which represents, a pharmaceutical company or a pharmaceutical industry representative body,” the protocol states.
The protocol, a copy of which was obtained by IMT under the Freedom of Information Act, also advised that should any ministers (or any other Government officials or advisers) receive any request for a meeting in relation to the pricing and supply of medicines should either:
- inform the party seeking the meeting to make contact with the State’s Pharmaceutical Pricing and Supply Strategy Group; or
- agree to arrange a meeting, and refer the contact details to the State’s Pharmaceutical Pricing and Supply Strategy Group so that a suitable date and time for a meeting can be arranged