Govt notifies new marketing code for pharma companies

Govt notifies new marketing code for pharma companies

New Delhi | The Department of Pharmaceuticals on Tuesday notified a new code which prohibits pharma companies from offering gifts and travel facilities to healthcare professionals or their family members.

The Uniform Code for Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024 also bans supply of free samples to those who are not qualified to prescribe such a product.

"No gift should be offered or provided for personal benefit of any healthcare professional or family member (both immediate and extended) by any pharmaceutical company or its agent i.e. distributors, wholesalers, retailers, etc," as per the UCPMP guidelines.

Similarly, no pecuniary advantage or benefit in kind may be offered, supplied, or promised to any person qualified to prescribe or supply drugs, by any pharmaceutical company or its agent i.e. distributors, wholesalers, retailers, etc, it added.

Besides, the companies or their representatives, or any person acting on their behalf, should not extend travel facilities inside or outside the country, including rail, air, ship, cruise tickets, paid vacations, etc. to healthcare professionals or their family members for attending conferences, seminars, workshops etc., it stated.

Companies or their representatives should not pay cash or monetary grant to any healthcare professional or their family members (both immediate and extended) under any pretext, as per the UCPMP code.

"All associations are requested to constitute an Ethics Committee for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (ECPMP), set up a dedicated UCPMP portal on their website, and take further necessary steps towards implementation of this Code," the Department of Pharmaceuticals said in the notification addressing associations of drug firms.

The promotion of a drug must be consistent with the terms of its marketing approval and a drug must not be promoted prior to receipt of its marketing approval from the competent authority, authorizing its sale or distribution, as per the code.

"Information about drugs must be balanced, up-to-date, verifiable, must not mislead either directly or by implication; accurately reflect current knowledge or responsible opinion; and must be capable of substantiation, which must be provided without delay, at request of the members of the medical and pharmacy professions, including members of other professions employed in the pharmaceutical industry," it stated.

The medical representatives must at all times maintain a high standard of ethical conduct in the discharge of their duties. They must comply with all relevant requirements of the Code, it stated.

The medical representatives must not employ any inducement or subterfuge to gain an interview and they must not pay, under any guise, for access to a healthcare professional, it added.

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