April 15, 2013 | By Márcio Barra
Back in February, Decree-law n.º 20/2013 made all agents of the health sector, be it physicians, scientific societies and patient associations obligated to publicly declare to Infarmed (the Portuguese competent authority on human drugs), in a period of 30 days, all financial support above 25 euros, either direct or indirect, provided by the pharmaceutical industry. Now it seems that the Portuguese National Committee for Data Protection, in response to a request by the Order of Physicians, didn’t authorize this Decree Law, and the order is now requesting Infarmed to remove these earning reports from their Website.
CNPD, in a statement obtained by Agência Lusa, declared that sending the earnings information to Infarmed “and its subsequent release on Infarmed’s website deals with treatment of personal data, which wasn’t notified to the Commission.”
The order of physicians in response to CNPD’s declaration stated that “Infarmed’s database containing the information pertaining to the conflict of interests of health professionals is illegal, as it didn’t obtain the CNDP’s approval.” They are requesting the removal of the database.
Regarding the database itself, the Portuguese journal “I” conducted an evaluation of the numbers provided by the database, which, up to now, has more than one million euros in transactions and 1.010 sponsorships, grants or donations or payments in money, assets or rights (the three categories of the database). The amount of work for the analysis seemed quite significant, as the database doesn’t allow for online analysis, forcing the information to be exported to an Excel Spreadsheet and manually analyzing the results.
Some highlights follow.
Novartis and Pfizer had the two biggest physician sponsorships declared, 9.230 euros to João José Cerqueira from the University of Minho and 8.615,06 euros to Teresa Coelho of the Oporto Hospital Center, respectively.
As for patients and professional institutions, these have declared to the moment more than half a million euros. In first place is the Portuguese Society of Cardiology, having received 72,000 euros from 14 laboratories, domestic and foreign. In eight place is the Order of Pharmaceuticals, with 14.500 euros declared from 14 different laboratories.