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ABPI Code updates come into effect

UK pharma trade body puts 2014 changes into action

ABPI London offices 

The latest update to the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry's (ABPI) Code of Practice came into effect at the beginning of the year having been agreed at the half-year general meeting on November 5, 2013.

The industry will benefit from a brief grace period, however – until April 30, “no promotional material or activity will be regarded as being in breach of the Code if it fails to comply with its provisions only because of newly introduced requirements” said the ABPI.

Details of the changes along with a PowerPoint presentation and a copy of the 2014 Code are available on the ABPI's website. The interactive 2014 Code and other materials are due to be updated.

There is also a grace period for the revised statutory scheme, which covers medicines that pharma companies choose to exclude from the voluntary, but more well-used. Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme. Changes to the scheme require that list prices of medicines to be reduced by 15 per cent, with effect from January 1, 2014.

While it is in the interest of advertisers to indicate the new lower prices on promotional material as soon as possible, stressed the ABPI, until April 30, promotional material will not be considered to be in breach of the Code if it still carries the previous higher price.

'Care should be taken, however, to ensure that there is no discrepancy between what representatives say and what is on written material left with doctors, for example, by representatives,, cautioned the organisation.

At no time will it be acceptable to give comparative prices in promotional material if these involve the new lower prices of the advertiser's products and the superseded higher prices of competitor products. Journal advertisements should be correct at the time of publication.

Providing accurate information is crucial, underlined the ABPI, adding that the provision of inaccurate or misleading information is seen as a major failing and is likely to result in the relevant company being reported to the Code of Practice Appeal Board.

The ABPI also announced that it is now offering accredited examinations as a new Level 3 qualification. The new exams are the Medical Representatives Examination (Level 3 diploma in the promotion of prescription medicines) and the Generic Sales Representatives Examination (Level 3 certificate in the promotion of prescription medicines).

Bookings for these exams will be through a new website: http://exams.abpi.org.uk. Candidates who are part way through the exam will be able to continue to take unaccredited exams, which will be offered until December 2015.

16th January 2014

From: Sales, Marketing, Regulatory

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