Independent clinical studies

At GSK, we carry out a large number of studies on our products and we make this information available in a range of ways.

But we also recognise that there are investigators from other healthcare institutions or other forms of medical networks who have scientific questions and will seek our support to conduct this work. The majority of these requests relate to our products, but some research proposals might be disease-based or with another focus.  We refer to these as investigator-sponsored studies (ISS) and are open to applications for support.

Basis of support

We only support proposals that have a legitimate scientific purpose. The decision to support a study proposal is based on the importance of the research objectives to medical science and patient care, the scientific rationale for the proposed methodology, and the ability of the study sponsor to deliver a high-quality ethical study.

We do not support studies in order to reward healthcare professionals for using, purchasing, recommending, or prescribing GSK products or to persuade them to do so by supporting the proposed research. For more about our approach to working with healthcare professionals on research, read Collaborating on clinical trials and research.

We have an online system that enables researchers to create an account and submit study proposals. This site has been created to facilitate more timely reviews and decisions, and to allow users to follow the progress of their submission.

This portal automatically routes proposals to the appropriate GSK medical personnel based on the therapy area, GSK product, and country specified in the on-line proposal form.  Once received, all proposals are reviewed by GSK personnel to evaluate our ability and desire to support the proposed research.   

Go to the ISS study website to register and submit a proposal.

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Collaborating on clinical trials and research

Working with healthcare professionals (HCPs) is an essential part or our efforts to develop new medicines and vaccines. These relationships help us understand both patient needs and the benefit and risks of our products.

Doctors and other Health Care Professionals (HCPs) help us by identifying potential volunteers for clinical trials, administer the investigational medicine or vaccine to the patients, and monitor the results. In this way their unique medical insight and knowledge is vital to the development of new treatments.

At the core of these relationships is a shared concern for improving the health of patients, based on our values of transparency, respect, integrity and patient focus. 

HCPs who work with us on clinical trials have contracts with us and are paid for their work on these clinical trials. This payment covers their time, plus the cost of investigations they may need to carry out regarding the suitability of a patient and the effectiveness of the treatment.

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Our policies

We have strict policies governing all our work with HCPs. These state that:

  • all clinical trial investigators are selected solely on their qualifications to conduct good quality clinical research
  • their history of using, or not using, GSK products must not be taken into account when deciding whether to include them as clinical trial investigators
  • no payments are offered or made to influence their judgement on whether to enrol or maintain a patient in a clinical study
  • gifts are not permissible to healthcare professionals involved in research projects for GSK
  • all payments to HCPs must be governed by contracts
  • any payment must reflect fair market value for the work performed and the services provided.

We also have a commitment to publically disclose the research payments that are made to healthcare professionals and to their institutions for conducting clinical research.

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Interactions with prescribers

Healthcare professionals need access to high quality up-to-date information to help them make the best treatment choices for their patients.

As a company that develops and makes many medicines and vaccines, we have an important role to play in providing accurate information about the risks and benefits of our products to HCPs. This includes sharing clinical data and safety information.

Traditionally, healthcare companies have provided information to HCPs in a range of ways including: through sales professionals; by supporting medical education that provides HCPs with the latest information on disease, diagnosis and treatment; and by providing direct financial support to enable HCPs to attend medical conferences to hear about new discoveries, the latest evidence for treatments or advances in care.

Recognising that HCPs also value hearing from their peers, companies have also engaged HCPs to talk on their behalf about their medicines. In keeping with professional relationships, these HCPs have typically received a fee for their time and expertise.

These industry practices have played an important role over the years in supporting HCP education through peer-to-peer interaction. But increasingly, we believe people may question whether a conflict of interest exists in the relationship where payments are made to HCPs to speak on a company's behalf, or where financial support is given to help HCPs attend medical conferences.

We know that HCPs make independent decisions. But even the perception of a conflict of interest can undermine the trust that patients have in the information about medicines being provided to them by their doctors, and we must work to safeguard against that.

In December 2013, we announced three significant new measures to change the way we sell and market our medicines to HCPs. These changes, which are due to be introduced by 2016, include:

Introducing new incentives for sales professionals
By early 2015, our sales professionals around the world will no longer have individual sales targets. Instead, they will be assessed and rewarded on their technical knowledge and the quality of the service they deliver to healthcare professionals to support improved patient care. Having begun this model in the USA in 2011 and seen it deliver improved value to HCPs, we’re now rolling it out across the world.

Delivering independent medical education in new ways
We are changing how we support education for doctors. Our commitment to education remains unchanged but we will move away from direct sponsorship of individual HCPs to arm’s length funding, for example via third party independent medical organisations. It will be up to these organisations to decide how to best deliver education programmes, without influence from GSK.

Stopping direct payments to HCPs to speak on our behalf
We’re stopping the practice of paying HCPs to speak on our behalf about our medicines to other HCPs. Instead, we’re developing new digital, personal and real-time applications to deliver information to healthcare professionals. We’ll make sure the expert medical doctors we have within GSK have more time to talk with and answer questions about our medicines with their peers. They will be responsible for, and measured on, providing the right information to support the appropriate use of our medicines.

While these changes are being introduced, we will continue to disclose any payments we do make to HCPs. These payments must be appropriate for the services and expertise provided to us, must not be excessive, and never be an inducement or reward for prescribing our products.

HCPs will remain valuable partners for GSK and beyond 2016, and we will continue to pay HCPs for certain non-promotional activities that we could not do without them. These include:

conducting GSK-sponsored clinical research advisory activities and market research which provide us with essential insights on specific diseases.

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Transparency disclosures (rest of world)

Outside of Europe and the USA, we continue to support and work towards transparency as industry associations or governments establish specific guidelines for disclosure.

We also continue to work towards publishing global figures at an aggregate level for the payments to HCPs that will continue, for activities such as advisory services and clinical research.

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