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International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations

IFPMA Code of Practice

The research-based pharmaceutical industry is the primary source of information about its own products and recognizes its responsibility for ensuring product information is accurate and does not mislead. Advertising and promotion are essential for informing healthcare professionals about new medicines and new uses for existing medicines. Self-regulation, via the IFPMA Code of Practice, supplemented by member association and company codes, sets standards for the ethical promotion of medicines.

Self-Regulation of Pharmaceutical Promotion

The international research-based pharmaceutical industry is committed to the improvement of the health of mankind through the research, development, production, marketing and safety surveillance of new medicines of reliable quality, in accordance with internationally defined standards of good practice.

As part of its commitment to health, the industry has an obligation and responsibility to provide accurate information about its products to healthcare providers in order to appropriately use prescription medicines.

Promotional activities (i.e. interactions and marketing practices) must be consistent with high ethical standards and information should be designed to help healthcare providers to provide the best care to patients. Information provided must be objective, truthful and in good taste. It must also conform to all relevant laws and regulations. Claims for therapeutic indications and conditions of use must be based on valid scientific evidence and must include clear statements with respect to side effects, contra-indications and precautions.

The same high standards of ethical behavior should apply to the promotion of pharmaceutical products in all countries, regardless of the level of development of their economic and health care systems.

These principles are embodied in the IFPMA Code Practice, first adopted as the foundation of a global approach self-regulation by the pharmaceutical industry in 1981 and updated frequently since then. Building on the experience of the 2006 Code and discussions with key stakeholders, the scope of the 2012 revision of the IFPMA Code has expanded beyond marketing practices to cover interactions with healthcare professionals, medical institutions and patient organizations. The IFPMA continues to support self-regulation as the most appropriate mechanism for ensuring ethical marketing and promotion of medicines by pharmaceutical companies it represents.