Center notifies Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices

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In an effort to stop the unethical practices in the pharma industry, the center has notified a Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) that prohibits the pharmaceuticals companies to hold conference, seminar and workshop on foreign locations.

As per the Uniform code, the free samples of drugs shall not be supplied to any person who is not qualified to prescribe such a product. Where samples of products are distributed by a medical representative, the sample must be handed directly to the person qualified to prescribe such product, it said.

“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. 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”, reads the UCPMP.

The pharma companies have also been asked not to extend travel facilities inside or outside the country to healthcare professionals or their family members for attending conferences, seminars, workshops etc., unless the person is a speaker for the program.

A five-member committee headed by Vinod Paul had recommended the new code after reviewing the previous voluntary guidelines.  The Pharma companies should not pay cash or monetary grant to any healthcare professional or their family members under any pretext, as per the new code.

The companies are responsible for the activities of their employees, including the medical representatives, for ensuring compliance of this Code.  All complaints related to the breach of the Code will be addressed to the ‘Ethics Committee for Pharma Marketing Practices (ECPMP)’. “Once it is established that a breach of the Code has been made by an entity, the Committee can suspend or expel the entity from the association, reprimand the entity and publish full details of such reprimand.