According to new industry codes, Doctors to receive pens and not much else


Thomas Cuemi. President of International Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry (Ifpma)

The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Industry (Ifpma) has updated its Code of Good Practices in the face of 2019. This last update includes a global ban on any IFPMA company member making gifts to healthcare professionals.

Paragraph 7.5 of the code refers to the prohibition of offering any gifts that would personally benefit healthcare workers.  Furthermore, it also prohibits the offer of cash or any other service not directly related to the profession of the healthcare worker and that would also be of personal gain.

The ban also includes promotional items, however at this point, the Federation makes an exception as long as they are of minimal value and in small quantities.

Ifpma has also prohibited that medical items include brand names, although the name of corporate laboratories will be permitted, but only if it is deemed necessary for proper use.

New points

With regard to the last applicable code, the International Federation of the pharmaceutical industry has included in paragraph 7 a new item on training and informational materials for the improvement of patient care. Ifpma explains that these materials delivered to health professionals for the purpose of training patients in diseases or treatments can be offered by the companies provided it is proved that its main purpose is in fact educational.

Fair value is another innovative concept introduced by the new code. These are new guidelines provided to member associations relating to the value of gifts. In particular, the fair value is intended for scientific books and subscriptions to magazines.

The code goes on to explain that the delivery of scientific books or subscriptions to scientific journals may be an important component for the improvement of patient care by keeping health professionals abreast of new developments. However, these publications are often expensive and therefore they should be kept to a minimum. The individual cost of the book or scientific journal should be considered as benefiting directly the healthcare professional.

Finally, the Code of Good Practice 2019 points out that complaints may be anonymous, although the IFPMA recommends that those who make complaints from outside the industry include name and contact details. In addition, the federation has changed the term “claim” to “complaint”.


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