As part of a push to align the rest of the world with the US and EU, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) is seeking to establish a global ban on gifts and promotional aids for prescription medicines, wherever its member companies operate.
“Any exceptions based on the custom of gifts to mark significant national, cultural or religious events (for example, mooncakes or condolence payments) have also been removed,” the group said as it released its latest Code of Practice.
The Code, which was first drafted in 1981 and most recently revised in 2012, notes, “Gifts for the personal benefit (such as sporting or entertainment tickets, electronics items, social courtesy gifts, etc.) of HCPs [health care professionals] (either directly or through clinics and institutions) are prohibited. Providing or offering cash, cash equivalents or personal services is also prohibited.”
In addition, providing or offering promotional aids, which are nonmonetary gifts, for the promotion of prescription-only medicines is prohibited.
However, the Code adds: “Promotional aids of minimal value and quantity may be provided or offered to HCPs solely for the promotion of over-the-counter medicines if relevant to the practice of the HCP.”
Another caveat, according to the Code, is that pens and notepads can be provided to HCPs “in the context of company organized events for the purpose of taking notes during the meeting. They must not bear the name of any medicine but may bear the name of the company providing them. In addition they must be of minimal value and only the necessary quantity are distributed. Examples of banned promotional aids include sticky notes, mouse pads, calendars, etc.”
As far as other changes, IFPMA also introduced a shift from a rules-based to a values-based Code, meaning the association is looking to instill a culture of ethics and integrity to guide business behaviors and interactions between IFPMA members and the healthcare community.
“The very nature of our business requires us to earn and maintain the trust of the people we serve. Our Ethos ensures we have a solid foundation on which to build trust with doctors, nurses, patients, and those who care for patients as well as groups that represent them. We also seek to build trust within the pharmaceutical industry’s ecosystem – our staff, scientists, suppliers, etc. Trust is essential to achieving our industry’s noble mission of discovering and delivering medicines to patients who need them.” said Melissa Barnes, chair of the IFPMA Ethics and Business Integrity Committee, senior vice president for enterprise and risk management and chief ethics and compliance officer of Eli Lilly & Co.
Meanwhile, IFPMA also this week announced that David Ricks, chairman and CEO of Lilly, was elected as the new president of IFPMA for a two-year term. Ricks replaces Pfizer CEO Ian Read.
Code of Practice