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UCB supports patient organisations in Europe

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    As a patient-centric company focused on our customers, it is important that we interact with patient organisations and do what we can to help their excellent work.

    Details of our contributions are published on our website, including a country-by-country breakdown. In 2011 the company and its affiliates provided support for disease awareness campaigns, travel to conferences and patient help-lines, as well as paying patient experts for their contribution to advisory panels.

    Non-financial supports are also listed. For example, we provided a UK patient group with the use of a kiosk for their events and were pleased that they had the opportunity to get their message across to as many people as possible.

    Of course, we make great efforts to raise disease awareness through our own initiatives too but sometimes patients themselves are best placed to talk about the reality of living with serious conditions. To us, it’s a win-win.

    Why do we publish all of this data?
    The rationale for supporting patient organisations is clear but I should also explain the thinking behind our decision to share so much detail with the public. The simple answer is that we believe in transparency and we see no reason to be anything other than open about our relationships with patient organisations.
     
    This should also be seen in the context of a trend within our industry. UCB is a core member of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry Associations (EFPIA) – the Brussels-based umbrella group for the research-based medicines sector.

    Our CEO, Roch Doliveux, sits on the EFPIA board and UCB personnel contribute to a range of EFPIA task forces and committees. For my part, I’m a member of the EFPIA Compliance Committee.

    In 2010, EFPIA issued a leadership statement on ethical practices in the industry which, amongst other things, called for greater transparency in companies’ relationships with patient groups. This was followed in 2011 by an updated EFPIA Code of Practice on relationship with patient organisations, which requires companies to disclose not only qualitative but also financial detailed information on support for patient organisations by 2013.

    At UCB we want to take a leadership role in being transparent so we decided – like a number of other companies – to act ahead of the 2013 deadline. We have, for the past two years, put all of this information into the public domain. We support the EFPIA Code and, frankly, we didn’t see any reason to retain this information.
     
    In the end, it’s a question of reputation. If an industry is not transparent, the public is inclined to presume the worst. By posting everything online we show that we have nothing to hide and look forward to continuing to support the important work of patient organisations.
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