Revised code of conduct

  • Business
  • Thursday, 25 Jul 2013

THE PHARMACEUTICAL Association of Malaysia (Phama) has announced the introduction of a revised Code of Marketing Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry as part of its on-going efforts to pursue policies and practices that best serve the needs of patients and the healthcare community.

In Malaysia, all multinational pharmaceutical companies are members of Phama and the industry in Malaysia is strictly regulated by the Phama Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices, or Phama Code, for prescription products to ensure the highest level of ethics and transparency are adhered to.

“The Phama Code was first drawn up in 1978 and has undergone constant review.

“The latest revision was conducted in line with the revised code under the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Association (IFPMA) Code of Practice which governs interactions with HCPs, medical institutions and patient organisations.

“All marketing activities under the Code must conform to all existing and relevant government legislation governing the practices of the pharmaceutical industry,” said Phama president Yew Wei Tarng.

The updated Phama Code now includes high-level guiding principles for conduct; a detailed definition of ‘promotion’; a requirement for member companies to train all employees; a clear distinction between gifts, promotional aids and items of medical utility; guidance for supporting continuing medical education and the selection of appropriate venues; a provision on disclosure of clinical trial information; interaction with patient organisations and a guide for filing complaints.

The Code continues to prohibit pre-approval promotional activities for pharmaceutical products, company-sponsored entertainment at events, and providing or offering personal gifts to healthcare professionals.

Most importantly, the code emphasises that “healthcare and well-being of patients are the first priority” of Phama member companies.

“The expanded code consolidates the framework for the industry to act with integrity and build trust, as we work towards improving patient health.

“In the interest of patient care, Phama calls on physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other stakeholders to ensure adherence to equally high standards of practice throughout the healthcare sector.

“Advancing medical knowledge and improving public health is dependent on regular information sharing between the medical community and pharmaceutical companies,” added Yew.

During a media interview, Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Jeyaindran Sinnadurai said, “It is crucial to regulate the pharmaceutical industry to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of drugs, including the accuracy and relevance of the drug information available to the public as this concerns the healthcare of the nation.

“Phama is leading its members to self-regulate and working closely with the ministry is an exemplary partnership.

“It has proven beneficial for all the stakeholders involved including healthcare professionals, patients, caretakers and members of the public.”

Health Ministry pharmaceutical services division senior director Datuk Eisah A. Rahman added, “The division plays a crucial role in public health as the division manages a drug from end-to-end.

“This includes registration and inspection of a product to ensure quality assurance of the pharmaceuticals in the country, in addition to enforcement of legislation to protect consumers from misleading advertisements or practices by manufacturers.

“The expansion of the Phama Code is welcome and necessary to bring greater clarity to the ethical standards that should be adhered to,” said Eisah.

“Members of the public should place their trust and have confidence in the ministry’s healthcare decision-making as we abide very strictly with current legislation and we welcome Phama’s commitment to promote appropriate standards.

“Working together with Phama, we will observe closely how well these are implemented and followed nation-wide,” she added.

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