Website detailing funding to doctors back online after investigation

Pharmaceutical industry body suspected site may have been ‘compromised’

The message that was on the transferofvalue.ie website on Saturday morning.

The message that was on the transferofvalue.ie website on Saturday morning.

 

A website detailing funding provided by the pharmaceutical industry to Irish doctors is back online after being taken down as a potential “compromise” was investigated.

The website – transferofvalue.ie – is maintained by the Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association as part of its transparency measures.

It details so-called “transfers of value” – usually payments for research, travel and other transfers from large pharmaceutical companies to doctors.

A message posted on the website on Saturday states it “may have been compromised”.

On Twitter, the association said that it was “investigating the matter so that it can be dealt with appropriately”. A source with knowledge of the situation said incorrect information had appeared on the website concerning payments to doctors.

On Saturday afternoon an association spokesman said “the transfer of value website was taken offline temporarily between 12th and 13th of April to investigate a potential compromise. We are satisfied the site has been functioning properly and securely and it is now online again.”

It is thought a technical error may have caused inaccurate information about funding to doctors to be posted on the website. A source said that no data breach had occurred.

In a post on Twitter on Friday night, genito-urinary consultant Dr Dominic Rowley said his “integrity and reputation are being questioned due to inaccurate information”, claiming information published on the transferofvalue.ie website was “incorrect”.

He also said he wanted a public apology from pharmaceutical company Merck. The transferofvalue.ie website, when live, breaks down payments or other transfers to individual doctors by specific companies.

Dr Rowley, who last week came to prominence following an interaction with Minister for Health Simon Harris on Twitter about vaccination policy. In a tweet, Dr Rowley suggested unvaccinated children should be barred from attending schools or creches.

Responding, Mr Harris said he “instinctively” agreed with the suggestion, but added “we may have constitutional issues here”.

Efforts to contact Dr Rowley for comment were unsuccessful. Merck had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.