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Santé hired to promote ABPI Code of Practice

Awareness campaign to make stakeholders aware of regulatory changes kicks off in April

PR agency Santé Communications has been hired by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) to promote its new Code of Practice.

The unusual move reflects the industry's desire to be seen to be enforcing its new regulatory regime, which observers have described as the toughest yet for pharmaceutical marketers.

The campaign, described as 'multi-faceted', is due to kick off in April.

ABPI director of public affairs, Ben Hayes, said the campaign was ìreally timelyî as the revised Code incorporates many changes of which the industry and its suppliers, such as PR agencies, need to be very aware.

ìIt is essential that those who interact with us understand that, as an industry, nothing less than the highest ethical standards will be acceptable,î he added. ìThe way the industry promotes its medicines has sometimes been criticised, and this new Code is designed to prevent unethical and inappropriate promotional practices.î

Liz Shanahan, MD at SantÈ will head the project.

ìThe industry is often perceived by media and clinical communities alike to be an aggressive oligarch and our experience has been the opposite,î she said. ìThe depth and breadth of approval required for the shortest press release might shock those outside the industry, but adhering to the Code of Practice is very important.î

The campaign will be targeted at various stakeholders within the industry, including staff at pharma companies, doctors, patient groups and service providers such as PR firms. Although a Code has existed since 1958, ABPI research has shown that many are still unaware of it.

2nd September 2008

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