February 22, 2019

New Pharma Manufacturers Association Code of Practice Limits Gifts Worldwide

The new Code of Practice of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) became effective on January 1, 2019. The new Code is marked by two important changes. First, it bans gifts and promotional aids for prescription medicines wherever IFPMA member companies operate. Second, it introduces a shift from a rules-based approach to a values-based code of conduct, which seeks to help better guide business behaviors and interactions between IFPMA members and the healthcare community.

The ban on gifts does not include any exceptions based on the custom of gifts for national, cultural or religious events (for example, mooncakes or condolence payments) which have been common in many parts of the world, such as China. This brings the rest of the world in line with current European and US guidelines. The ban reflects the general concern that the promotional items trivialize the important, professional relationship that must exist between medical representatives and healthcare professionals, and that, while of small value, these gifts tend to influence prescribing.