European Union



Today’s post comes to us from Philipp Dieterich, Strategy Expert at GLOBALHealthPR Germany partner, fischerAppelt.

Earlier this year, the German pharma association FSA implemented the Transparency Code, which means that for the first time all pharmaceutical companies in Germany have to publish all monetary contributions they have paid to medical institutions, doctors and other partners throughout the previous year. Technically speaking, this is not a challenging request. However, companies that carry out their duty and publish those numbers let go of the opportunity to establish a new compliance culture and shape communication around it.

It is more than just a bothersome reporting practice:

The pharmaceutical industry claims their monetary contributions serve to transfer knowledge and help improve medical care. Yet the public is skeptical towards pharmaceutical companies  and thus favour the transparent display of pharmaceutical partnerships and financial contributions. Companies that perceive the Transparency Code as a bothersome reporting-practice, and therefore limit their communication to the documentation of their contributions, miss out on a big opportunity. They could be highlighting on collaborative activities and the added value from their cooperation with not only the Transparency Code, but also with the partners they monitarily contribute to. The purpose their contributions should be made clear in terms of what they are serving and how they are advancing the development of pharmaceutical products. This is the main interest of patients and medical associations. This is where communication should start.

There is a need for a new compliance culture:

Future cooperation should be examined more closely to see whether the intended transfer of knowledge results in the improvement of research and medical care. Monetary-only cooperations will be replaced by content-related collaboration. The FSA Transparency Code is a prelude of this change. In the efforts to gain public acceptance and trust, the companies which go beyond regulatory standards will stand out from others. By doing so, they can demonstrate their serious interest in changing the existing structures. The latter is the biggest task as it will significantly impact how different actors collaborate. Consequently, this will lead to a new set of guidelines and rules of compliance.

Communication of change starts now:

In order to actually bring about change in a complex health care system, a comprehensive communication support is indispensable. Companies should actively participate in a constructive public dialogue. This requires being transparent about existing affiliations and their purpose, as well as mediating for future sets of rules. Companies will be evaluated on these points in the upcoming months, and the companies that go beyond communicating just the basics will be among the winners.


As many of you across the world recently watched, the United Kingdom has elected to withdraw from the European Union following a public referendum on Thursday the 23rd of June.

It is too soon to have clear perspective on all the implications for the pharmaceutical, biotechnology and life sciences sectors, but there are several things that are already known:

  • The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will be required to relocate from London, as EU agencies must be located in a Member State
  • The chemistry and pharmaceutical sectors of the EU Unified Patent Court (UPC) will no longer be located in London, as previously planned

Additionally, the existing UK Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) is likely to assume all responsibility for medicines regulation in the UK.

There are, of course, other important factors that will impact all industries, including potential trade barriers and the freedom of movement of the workforce, but it is too early to speculate on how these will play out. This is because leaving the EU will take some time.  To start the process, the UK must trigger Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, which sets out the procedure to be followed if a Member State decides to leave.  In his resignation speech, Prime Minister David Cameron said this is a job for his successor, who he expects to be in place before the Conservative party conference in October. Once Article 50 has been triggered, negotiations to leave the EU will take place over a two-year period, during which time the implications will become clearer.

One thing that we know for certain is that the UK decision to leave the EU does not impact our GLOBALHealthPR partnership.  It is, and will continue to be, business as usual for our integrated teams across the world.