Mental Health Europe: Promoting transparency laws to shed light on the pharmaceutical industry

An image to illustrate transparency laws for the pharmaceutical industry
© Helin-Loik-Tomson

Mental Health Europe has published a report identifying the problems with a lack of transparency across healthcare and mental health services, and promoting their views to enable transparency laws to shed light on the pharmaceutical industry.

The problem with a lack of transparency in the pharmaceutical industries

Mental Health Europe argues that: “A lack of transparency around interactions between these stakeholders has led to the over-medicalisation of mental health and a worrying reliance on drugs as the main form of treatment for mental ill-health. It has also caused unethical and biased decision-making in mental healthcare.”

Mental Health Europe

Mental Health Europe is the largest independent network representing mental health users, professionals and service providers in Europe. Medical Health Europe has reported concerns about the lack of transparency in the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry, healthcare professionals, and other organisations, particularly in relation to the mental health sector.

Mental Health Europe’s recommendations for transparency laws

Mental Health Europe has outlined its recommendations for transparency laws to reduce the opacity of the relationship between the pharmaceutical industry and medical devices industry, healthcare professionals, healthcare organisations, and patient organisations.

These are:

  • To promote and adopt a comprehensive legally binding approach to the disclosure of transfers of value, including disclosure of financial and professional relationships between health industries, healthcare professionals, healthcare organisations and patient/user organisations, comprising at least mandatory disclosure on an individual level; the widest possible scope of transfers with a low or no threshold; user-friendly, searchable and downloadable databases; and effective mechanisms of monitoring and ensuring compliance;
  • To set legal minimum standards for the harmonisation of transparency reporting at the European level;
  • To raise awareness of conflicts of interest in medical education and medical practice, along with effective ways of managing them;
  • To support initiatives offering independent initial and continuing medical education for medical students and healthcare professionals;
  • To ensure unbiased research in health sciences via sufficient independent funding; and
  • To raise awareness among users of mental health services on conflicts of interest and how to deal with available information regarding disclosure and involve users throughout the implementation of transparency provisions.
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