At the end of June, we ran an event entitled ‘The HCP’s Perspective’ which was well attended by senior pharma leaders and compliance leads who joined to hear, leading HCP, Dr Yvonne Summers share her invaluable insights and experiences of engaging with multiple pharma companies.
Dr Summers is a consultant medical oncologist and clinical director at the Christie Hospital NHS Trust in Manchester where she is also chief investigator and principal investigator on a portfolio of lung cancer clinical trials. She is also a member of the EORTC Lung Cancer Group and the Lung Cancer Clinical Expert Group, and provides clinical expert advice on lung cancer for NICE technology appraisals.
Unsurprisingly, with such a breadth of expertise in this field, Dr Summers is frequently called upon to speak at industry events to share her knowledge in fee for service arrangements. According to the Disclosure UK website, she had disclosures with ten different companies last year (2022), and we are delighted that she used PAYCE for her engagements with at least two of these.
Dr Summers started her address by detailing the benefits of engaging with pharma alongside the more challenging aspects of doing so.
She told the audience: “The most important aspect of speaker meetings is being able to disseminate some of the knowledge from trial data and international meetings. Many of our pathways have been changing recently, and so speaker meetings are an opportunity to engage more easily with the broader community.”
The main challenges when engaging with pharma are predominantly centred around our own boundaries, Dr Summers said. She noted that “when engaging in an event with an associated honorarium, it’s important to maintain professional integrity at all times, which includes taking leave if you’ve got a meeting during the day and not doing it on NHS or university time.”
Dr Summers went on to explain the difficulties with disclosing payments and commented that “most trusts do now have registers whereby any kind of paid work needs to be disclosed - but you need to be very clear in terms of disclosing this sort of relationship in all arenas: documenting your disclosure right from the start as well as during the actual talk, and making sure there are no potential conflicts of interest regarding funding you might receive for other areas of research.”
The administrative challenges of working with different pharma companies and their individual systems include the “old ways” of having to print off documents to sign and then scan.
Dr Summers said: “These seem incredibly time-consuming and impractical when we are in a digital age. Some international engagements require you to fill in forms and tax documents which can’t be done digitally, and this can be complex and frustrating.”
As a PAYCE user, Dr Summers has nothing but praise for our dedicated industry portal which provides a single place for healthcare professionals to manage their engagements, sign contracts electronically, track payments, and submit expenses and invoices on the go, across multiple companies.
She said: “My overwhelming view is that it’s very straightforward, enormously helpful and extremely easy-to-use. I’ve had no challenges or problems accessing it. It just all works perfectly, is completely seamless and I don’t even have to think about it.”