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Pharmaceutical bodies welcome Uniform Marketing Code

Mar 14,2024

Pharma lobby groups have welcomed the new Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) that aims to keep unethical Practices in check. Notification of the code establishes a framework for communication claims, educational activities, samples and other market initiatives within the knowledge-driven pharmaceutical industry, said Sudarshan Jain, secretary-general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA).

“It clearly lays down what activities are permissible and outlines a complaint procedure involving both industry associations and the Department of Pharmaceuticals. Indeed, it is a step forward towards industry advancement, prioritising superior patient care and adhering to established norms,” he said.

“We welcome the UCPMP. It is a balanced order that ensures that there is a healthy and ethical engagement between the pharmaceutical industry and medical professionals,” Indian Drug Manufacturers’ Association (IDMA) national president Viranchi Shah said. “It also brings clarity in the domain and has been updated as per current industry practices. The IDMA has always been in favour of ethical marketing practices for its members.”

The government on Tuesday notified the new UCPMP. Department of Pharmaceuticals secretary Arunish Chawla told ET that the modified UCPMP has been finalised after due consultations with the pharma associations and lobby groups.

“The response of pharma associations has been positive and all honest players in this field and industry want everyone else to play by the rules,” he said. The new code, which is not voluntary anymore but is quasi-statutory, will have to be followed by all pharma companies irrespective of their size.

“It will apply to all because the pharma associations covered the entire spectrum. There is the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance which covers the large companies. Then there is an Indian Drug Manufacturers Association which covers the medium companies, the medium small companies and the OPPI (Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India), which is a very old organisation and covers large companies, particularly companies which are multinational and working in India,” Chawla said.

Pharma companies were earlier asked to explain why they need to offer gifts and free medicines as samples to doctors to promote their products, as part of a government’s move to review the regulatory framework on marketing practices in the sector.

A high-level committee formed under Niti Aayog’s VK Paul also held meetings with the representatives of pharma lobby groups to review the matter. Members of the OPPI, IPA IDMA attended the meeting on November 4 last year. The panel was formed by health minister Mansukh Mandaviya after reports suggested that companies were spending exorbitantly on promotion of drugs.

Source: Pharma

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