The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) has put into practice an expanded version of its code of practice, giving guidance to pharma companies on how to interact with healthcare professional, institutions and patient organisations.
Updates include guidelines that offer a clear distinction between gifts, promotional aids and items of medical utility, as well as guidance for supporting continuing medical education (CME) and a provision on disclosure of clinical trials information.
Under these changes, payments in cash and gifts for the personal benefit are prohibited, while promotional aids of minimal value and quantity may be provided to healthcare professionals if relevant to their practice.
Items of medical utility may be offered if such items are of modest value and are “beneficial to enhancing the provision of medical services and patient care”.
Regarding CME, content provided by companies must be fair, balanced and objective, and designed to allow the expression of diverse theories and recognised opinions.
These updates are in addition to existing guidance for filing complaints and the ban on promotional activities for pharmaceutical products ahead of approval.
Guidance on company-sponsored entertainment at events also remains in the code.
“Advancing medical knowledge and improving global public health depend on regular information-sharing interactions between the medical community and pharmaceutical companies,” said Eduardo Pisani, director general of the IFPMA.
“We have a moral obligation to communicate and participate in all relationships with integrity, accuracy and clarity. The IFPMA Code of Practice is a tangible example of the research-based pharmaceutical industry's commitment to making a strong contribution to global public health while adhering to the highest standard of practice.”
The code apples only in countries where there is no national code already in place by a member association, or cases in which the company involved is not a member of the national organisation.
If complaints are received, they are validated by the IFPMA secretariat and forwarded to the company in question within five working days of receipt.