Simon Jose, President of the ABPI said: “We operate in a world where customers’ and society’s expectations of our industry have increased and it is only right that we adapt to this. Our members’ vote in support of the changes to the Code recognises this need and also reflects the very supportive feedback from external organisations that these changes clearly resonate with health professionals. It is both important and absolutely right that we have a professional and meaningful relationship with healthcare professionals – these changes ensure that this will continue to be done in a transparent and appropriate manner.
“We want to shift the debate to focus on how we can improve health outcomes for patients through science and innovation. This vote is a strong symbolic indicator of change and a positive step towards increasing trust in industry as a partner in the healthcare system.”
From 1st January 2011*, industry will no longer provide branded promotional items to healthcare professionals. Only inexpensive items to be passed on and used by patients as part of a formal patient support programme will be permitted under the new Code. Companies will also have to declare payments to healthcare professionals for services including speaker fees, advisory boards and consultancy, and sponsorship for attendance at meetings on an annual basis. The first declaration will be made in 2013 for payments made in 2012.
Notes to Editors:
* The new Code comes into operation on 1 January 2011 with various transition periods. None of the newly introduced requirements come into effect until 1 May 2011.
Further information on the changes to the Code will be available on the PMCPA website from 3 November 2010: www.pmcpa.org.uk
For further information, please contact the ABPI press office: 020 7747 1410
About the Code of Practice:
The ABPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry sets standards for the advertising and promotion of prescription medicines to health professionals and appropriate administrative staff in the UK. It aims to ensure that the promotion of medicines is carried out within a robust framework to support high quality patient care. The Code also sets standards relating to the provision of information to patients and the public as well as relationships with patient organisations. All ABPI member companies are obliged to comply with the Code and about fifty non-member companies voluntarily agree to adhere to the Code.
Proposed changes to the Code are discussed and agreed by the ABPI Board of Management, which comprises senior representatives from research-based pharmaceutical companies of all sizes in the UK. Following public consultation (including key stakeholders such as NHS, professional bodies and its membership), the final recommendations are then put to a vote of ABPI member companies at the ABPI November Conference.