Mandatory marketing code for pharma companies to have strong penal provisions
The mandatory marketing code for pharma companies would be having strong penal provisions in order to prevent bribing of doctors for prescribing drugs by drug companies.
September 6, 2016: The voluntary code which was applicable till June 2015 has been allotted four extensions.
The provision comes in the wake of large number of doctors being bribed by pharma companies. The Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers had come up with a Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) in January 2015 in consultation with industry. The code was expected to be reviewed after its voluntary application for six months. The Ministry extended the deadline till June 30 inspite of corrupt practices surfacing. Self regulation was promised by the industry, though the government admitted later that a voluntary code is difficult to enforce and had announced its plans to make it mandatory.
Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) which is a national network of organisations working on public health had made a presentation on a consolidated ethical marketing code in a stakeholder meeting held in February, 2016. With several cases of bribery by pharma companies still on the rise, the Ministry finally took the above step.