The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations has expanded its Code of Practice from covering just marketing practices to now including all interactions between its research-based pharmaceutical corporate and association members and healthcare professionals, medical institutions, and patient organizations. IFPMA’s expanded code resembles the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals, though the global organization does require all members to adopt and implement the code, —and includes training employees on its requirements—while PhRMA’s remains voluntary.

This latest iteration of the IFPMA Code, which was originally adopted in 1981 and has been regularly tweaked since, is designed to ensure that member organizations conduct all interactions in an ethical and professional fashion. In addition to covering such items as off-label use, printed and electronic promotional materials, and samples, the IFPMA Code delves into what constitutes appropriate interactions between pharma companies and HCPs at meetings and events, gifts, and support for continuing medical education.

Among the meetings-related requirements are that venues housing medical events must be “conducive to the scientific or educational objectives and the purpose of the event or meeting. Companies must avoid using renowned or extravagant venues.” Companies also are not allowed to pay any costs for spouses or other guests of invited HCPs.

While cash and personal gifts to docs are not allowed, companies can provide useful medical items, as long as they are modest, in keeping with routine business practices, and benefit patient care. If they can justify it from a logistical or security perspective, member companies are allowed to sponsor international scientific congresses and symposia that draw participants from multiple countries.

When it comes to CME, commercial support is considered to be appropriate if the activity is designed to enhance medical knowledge. Any content companies provide has to be “fair, balanced, and objective, and designed to allow the expression of diverse theories and recognized opinions. Content must consist of medical, scientific, or other information that can contribute to enhancing patient care.”

Download a PDF of the IFPMA Code here.

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