Changes to Pharma Code of Marketing Practice

Posted on January 18, 2012 by Aoife Manahan

The Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare Association (IPHA) has announced strict updates to its industry Code of Marketing Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry.

The concrete code revisions, which came into effect last week, ensure Irish-based pharmaceutical companies comply with the updated European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations regulations.

Main amendments to the Code of Marketing Practice have been created in the following areas:

  • Promotion of New Drugs to Healthcare Professionals
  • Sampling of Medicinal Products
  • Patient Association Relationships


Promotion of new drugs to healthcare professionals

From January 2012, pharmaceutical companies may not promote their products at venues distinguished for entertainment or leisure activities.

In the past, HCP meetings and product launches may have been held in places such as the Aviva Stadium or Croke Park. However, under the updated IPHA Code, locations such as these may not be utilised.

Under similar direction, promotional meetings or events organised by, or on behalf of, an Irish-based pharmaceutical company may not be held to correspond with any entertainment or sporting events, such as the Irish Open. Likewise, the extension of corporate hospitality to doctors must not be practiced if it involves sporting, social or entertainment meetings or events.

Though IPHA acknowledges that pharmaceutical companies frequently conduct HCP meetings for the purpose of medical education, the body has stated that “such support and assistance must, however, always be such as to leave healthcare professionals independence of judgment manifestly unimpaired”.


Sampling of Medicinal Products

The updated IPHA code reports that, as per any given year, prescribing healthcare professionals should not receive more than four samples of any new medicine and sampling must not extend further than two years after the first sample request

Updates to sampling guidelines also state that samples of medicinal products should only be supplied to those qualified to prescribe and such samples are provided on an exceptional basis only, for the purpose of acquiring experience in dealing with the provided product.


Patient Association Relationships

Up until now, it was compulsory that each IPHA member makes public a list of all the patient associations they hold relationships with.

From January 2012, the restructured IPHA Code requires that the list also contains a description of each relationship to allow the average reader to easily form an understanding of the significance of the particular relationships between each patient association and pharmaceutical company.

Click here to view the updated IPHA Code of Marketing Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry

Click here to view the Irish Times article on the updated Code