The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has announced that a new Code of Practice will be introduced from January 2006.
The new code contains the follow key changes:
- Patient safety is being further promoted by a requirement for all printed, promotional material to include prominent information about reporting adverse drug reactions.
- Further definition and restrictions are being applied on what can be provided to health professionals in the way of promotional aids, hospitality, subsistence, travel, and accommodation.
- Relationships with patient groups and the provision of information to the public are covered in greater depth.
- A reduction in the permitted number of pages of medicines advertising and an outright ban on all promotional competitions are introduced.
- Moves to speed up the process of determining complaints so that decisions can be made more quickly and sanctions imposed faster.
- Materials or activities ruled in serious breach of the code may, under certain circumstances, be suspended, even if an appeal is intended, which will reduce the time such material remains in use.
- Results of some, more serious cases will be advertised in the medical and pharmaceutical press, thus strengthening the sanctions available.
The new Code of Practice is available in full on the ABPI website.
Action: Clinicians who are involved with the Pharmaceutical Industry should be aware of the existence and contents of the Code Of Practice. Adherence to the code allows the relationship between clinicians and representatives of the industry to be conducted professionally and ethically. Knowledge of the code allows lapses in adherence to be report.
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