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New EFPIA code comes into effect

A new EFPIA Code of Practice calling for greater transparency in the relationships between drug manufactures and patient organisations comes into effect July 1, 2008
A new European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) Code of Practice which calls for greater transparency in the relationships between drug manufactures and patient organisations comes into effect on July 1, 2008.

The Code of Practice on Relationships between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Patient Organisations will apply to 2,200 companies across Europe represented by EFPIA and lays out new guidelines for firms sponsoring not-for-profit organisations. Under the terms of the new Code, pharmaceutical companies will have to disclose a list of all patient groups to which they provide financial or indirect, non-financial support.

Arthur Higgins, president of EFPIA and CEO of Bayer Healthcare, explained that the industry considers its work with patients as important in helping understand their needs and concerns about medicines research and development.

"We want this relationship to be transparent and to be in line with the highest standards of compliance and ethics," he said.

"EFPIA's Code establishes clear principles for working with patient groups that all member companies must comply with."

Pharmaceutical manufacturers will have to make sure that the information they provide is updated annually. Sanctions ranging from fines to suspension from national industry associations could be imposed on companies in breach of the Code, which also requires that they have written agreements in place to define the nature of their support for patient groups.

Companies will also be expected to encourage patient organisations to find multiple sources of funding and will have to obtain written, contractual permission to use their logos. Stipulations in the Code have been drafted to reflect EU law prohibiting the advertisement of prescription-only drugs and states that pharma firms must not influence the content of patient groups' material.

A full list including all the information provided by individual companies will be made available to people across Europe from the end of March 2009.

The full Code can be found at http://www.efpia.org/content/default.asp?PageID=559&DocID=4959

30th June 2008

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