With concerns over the influence of offering gifts to medical professionals by pharmaceutical companies surging, the Department of Pharmaceutical (DoP) has asked the pharmaceutical industry to step up efforts at self-regulation or it will be compelled to bring in a law to regulate promotional practices in the pharmaceuticals industry.
The DoP secretary held a meeting to review the implementation of the uniform code of pharmaceutical marketing practices (UCPMP) which is being voluntarily adopted by the pharmaceutical companies since 2015.
Following recent complaints of unethical marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies, a committee is likely to be set up by the DoP which will keep a strict vigil on any such violations, shared one of the persons attending the meeting.
The DoP secretary has told both the domestic and multinational pharma lobby groups along with the medical device industry to “strictly” comply with the code of ethics, added the same people. The pharma lobby groups and the medical devices lobby group have been asked to share their comments on the issue within a week.
“A committee is also likely to be set up by the DoP pharma to check on any such violations by the pharma companies in future,” added another person. Chaired by the DoP pharma, the meeting was also attended by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Auhtority (NPPA) chairperson Shubhra Singh and senior officials in the DoP.
Gifts for the personal benefit of healthcare professionals and family members, both immediate and extended, such as tickets to entertainment events, are also not to be offered or provided. However, there has been no headway on the proposed legislation.
“The Pharma secretary also warned that if there are more violations that come to the light in future, the department will be compelled to make it UCPMP mandatory, which has penal provisions for the violators,” added the second person, quoted above.