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Orion's training collaboration with healthcare professionals improves patient safety – information on the training is disclosed annually

Orion provides training to doctors and pharmacy personnel by sharing researched, impartial and up-to-date knowledge. This enables the pharmaceutical company to ensure safe and correct medical treatment. One of the most essential values of Orion's training collaboration is openness.
6/13/2022 Author / Essi Kähkönen

Training collaboration with healthcare professionals has always been a very important matter for Orion. Collaboration with doctors, for instance, is vital for Orion's R&D operations.

The financial benefits provided by Orion to healthcare professionals and organisations are disclosed as part of Orion’s Annual Sustainability Report. This year, financial compensation paid by Orion in Finland were disclosed on 14 June.

“Orion develops its own proprietary products, and we need the expertise of medical researchers and clinicians in the research projects – after all, they are in contact with the patients. Doctors always play an active role in the planning of our research projects,” explains Paula Rytilä, Vice President, Chief Medical Officer at Orion.

In terms of Orion's training collaboration with healthcare professionals, it is worth remembering that Orion has the most comprehensive range of prescription drugs in Finland. This important point is made by Peter Lindström, Marketing Director at Orion.

“Marketing of prescription drugs and the related communications can only be targeted at healthcare professionals, in practice doctors and the pharmaceutical personnel at pharmacies. To ensure that patients comply with their treatment, healthcare professionals must have the latest and most up-to-date information on medicines – be it a new Orion drug or a generic. We meet with both doctors and pharmacy staff to ensure that they remain up to date with our medications, even when treatment practices change,” Lindström says.

Safe medication is at the core of everything

The aim of all of Orion's training activities is to maintain and improve the safety of medication, in other words, patient safety. Rytilä explains that collaboration with individual doctors, medical researchers, medical associations, pharmaceutical associations or pharmacists, for example, is based on the needs of patients and customers.

“We want to share the type of information that is essential for the treatment of patients and helps healthcare professionals in their daily work.”

This is why each Orion training event is prepared together with a healthcare unit.

“The purpose of our marketing communication is not to urge healthcare professionals to “prescribe our products”, but rather to share knowledge that covers the treatment practices of an entire therapy area,” Rytilä says.

Neutral and external – lecturers share impartial research data

Most of the lecturers used by Orion are external and neutral lecturers whose lectures are based on scientific and impartial research.

One example of such a training event is an event arranged for medical students, which is held in connection with the Finnish Medical Convention in Helsinki and is now a tradition. The training event provides useful information on health centre emergency service assignments:

“The content of the event is planned together with the Finnish Medical Association and the Finnish Medical Students’ Association. As many as a thousand students sign up for it each year,” says Lindström.

Rytilä explains that, as a pharmaceutical company, Orion is obliged to ensure that its products are used correctly.

“Our training collaboration is centred around the idea that we help a patient get exactly the right medicine that they need and that they use it correctly. Anyone can also ask us any questions they may have about our products – thousands of calls are made each year to our product information number. We also produce a huge number of patient leaflets that we share with the professional field.”

Transparent disclosure of fees

The financial benefits provided by Orion to healthcare professionals and organisations are disclosed as part of Orion’s Annual Sustainability Report. This year, financial compensation paid by Orion in Finland were disclosed on 14 June.

“We believe that transparency and openness are essential in this matter. We need the continuous trust of healthcare professionals, patients and society,” explains Rytilä.

The amounts used for training collaboration are disclosed on the website. The report provides information on training volumes and the amount of money Orion has used to support the further training of healthcare professionals.

“We also disclose the costs of attending conferences and the number of staff involved, as well as the lecture fees received by lecturers. We disclose the names of those people who have received the fees and who have given their consent to this. A total of 86% of the lecturers we use are in favour of our transparency policy,” says Lindström.

When disclosing the information, Orion observes the same guidelines that have been agreed by international pharmaceutical companies through their cooperation organisations. The disclosures are also in line with the principles of Pharma Industry Finland (PIF) and Rinnakkaislääketeollisuus ry (The Finnish Association for Generic Drugs).

“Our disclosures are an important part of Orion's ethics policy in the marketing of pharmaceuticals. We do not have a statutory obligation to disclose our payments, but we believe that it is essential to do this to ensure safe medication and, ultimately, patient safety,” says Rytilä.

Training events continued during the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic significantly changed the operating environment of Orion's training collaboration. Training events had to be cancelled or were held online.

“Virtual events and conferences taught us and the entire healthcare sector a lot. We learnt that it is possible to continue our collaboration even if we are unable to meet in person,” Rytilä says.

According to Lindström the number of participants in Orion’s virtual training events held during the pandemic was, in some cases, far higher than at some events held prior to the pandemic. The feedback that we have received from participants has been very positive.

According to Rytilä, this difficult time has also been a challenge for the core function of healthcare, i.e. good treatment of underlying health conditions.

“For Orion, ensuring patient safety also means guaranteeing the availability of medicines. We have worked very hard during the pandemic to ensure that Finns get the medicines they need. And I am very pleased to say that we have succeeded in this.”