Govt seeks self-declaration from pharma firms to stop unethical practices

  • The government had released the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) in March with the aim to bring in greater transparency.

Priyanka Sharma
First Published29 May 2024
The department of pharmaceuticals has written to all pharma associations directing them to send the circular to all member-companies to submit self-declarations by 30 June.  (Photo: Bloomberg)
The department of pharmaceuticals has written to all pharma associations directing them to send the circular to all member-companies to submit self-declarations by 30 June. (Photo: Bloomberg)

New Delhi: The Centre wants the heads of all pharmaceutical companies to submit a ‘self-declaration’ that their firms are following the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) for FY24-25.

The department of pharmaceuticals has written to all pharmaceutical associations directing them to send the circular to all member-companies to submit self-declarations by 30 June in a format prescribed by the department.

The move comes after pharma companies were found to be engaging in unethical practices such as offering freebies and luxury trips to doctors to promote their drugs.

Government ensuring ethical conduct

The union government released the code in March with the objective to bring greater transparency and ensure ethical conduct in the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies.

The code also says that information about drugs must be balanced, up-to-date, verifiable, must not mislead either directly or by implication and drug promotion must be consistent with the terms of its marketing approval from the competent authority, authorizing its sale or distribution.

Read | Govt revisiting the standards for medical devices considering evolving technology in medical sciences

“We have received the communication from the government, and we have shared it with our member companies. Self-Declaration for FY24-25 is a kind of pledge that companies would take to assure the government that UCPMP code is being followed thoroughly,” said an official from Indian Drugs Manufacturing Association (IDMA) requesting anonymity.

“Prior to this, companies have never given self-declaration to the authorities. So, next year the government would inform that such a number of firms followed the rules and maintained the standards,” said the official.

Code restricts offering of freebies

The code restricts pharmaceutical companies, agents, distributors, wholesalers, or retailers from offering freebies to healthcare professionals or their families -- including gifts, travel, hospitality and monetary benefits – for prescribing drugs.

The code further indicates that free samples of drugs shall not be supplied to any person who is not qualified to prescribe such a product.

Queries sent to the department of pharmaceuticals remained unanswered.

Also read | Seat leaving: NMC to change service and education bond policy for doctors

 

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