Indian Government Announces a New Ethical Program for Marketing of Drugs

On March 12, the Indian Department of Pharmaceuticals issued a new regulation for drug marketing called the – Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP). Accordingly, all pharmaceutical associations in India are required to set up Ethics committees for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices. Each ethics committee will include 4-6 members to supervise drug marketing practices, identify complaints and the related companies causing these issues, and outline appropriate remedies. The new ethics committees will focus on drug promotion, what medical representatives can and cannot do, what is appropriate for interactions with healthcare institutions and healthcare professionals (HCPs), etc. While the old code was voluntary, the new UCPMP will be enforced by an independent body created by the government.

In addition, the UCPMP doubles down on bribes being illegal and increases earlier fines, says that giving out free samples to non-HCPs will be not allowed, puts more scrutiny and transparency on medical events, etc. The Indian pharmaceutical associations will upload the UCPMP page on their websites, and these sites will be linked to the UCPMP page on the Department of Pharmaceuticals website too. The UCPMP official document includes about 10 pages of information covering topics from – Claims and Comparisons, Textual and Audio-Visual Promotion, Relationships with HCPs, Lodging of Complaints, Penalties, and Appeals, among other topics.

Written by: Ames Gross – President and Founder, Pacific Bridge Medical (PBM)
Mr. Gross founded PBM in 1988 and has helped hundreds of medical companies with regulatory and business development issues in Asia. He is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the Asian medical markets. Mr. Gross has a BA degree, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Columbia University.

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