College responds to BMJ investigation into Medical Royal Colleges and industry sponsorship

An article in today’s BMJ alleges that Medical Royal Colleges, including the RCGP, ‘do not always disclose publicly’ the funding they receive from pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

We have co-operated fully with the BMJ in its investigation, and you can read our full response below.

“GPs and their teams are at the forefront of delivering whole-person care for their patients. They have the broadest curriculum of any medical specialty, and need to demonstrate continued professional development, reflective of the full breadth of the curriculum, throughout their career.

“The College works with a variety of partners, including those in the pharmaceutical sector, if and where appropriate, to develop educational resources to support GPs and other healthcare professionals in delivering high-quality patient care. All content is produced independently, editorial control and copyright sits with the RCGP and is not meant for any product promotion, in line with ABPI guidelines.

“The College follows a strict sponsorship policy when working with partners, developed in consultation with our GP members. This includes that any partnership arrangements should comply with the ABPI Code of Practice. If a sponsor is found to be in breach of this code, we end our collaboration with them.

"The College has committed to publishing an annual list of all College sponsors as of the 2023/24 financial year. Wherever possible and subject to any contractual and data handling restrictions that may exist, information on the financial bandwidths of sponsorship funding will also be included. We are not able to provide a list of past sponsors as we do not have the authorisation in place for historical agreements to make them public, and our sponsorship policy was clear that this was not something the College had actively decided to do, largely due to the time and resource required.

“Members of College Council, Trustee Board and major College committees must also make a written declaration of all their interests on an annual basis. There is also a conflicts of interest check at the start of every College meeting.”

Further information

RCGP Press office: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 54,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.