Press release 1 March 2012

Expanded code of practice for pharmaceutical industry updates ethical and professional standards for interactions

Press release


  • Code extended to cover all interactions with healthcare professionals, medical institutions, and patient organizations
  • Code provides effective framework for ethical business practices
  • International patient organization welcomes new rules
  • IFPMA encourages equally high standards across healthcare sector

1 March 2012, Geneva – Today the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) announced an expansion of its Code of Practice to govern how companies interact with healthcare professionals, medical institutions and patient organizations. Representing the research-based pharmaceutical industry, IFPMA requires all member companies and member associations around the world to adopt and implement this new Code.

“Advancing medical knowledge and improving global public health depend on regular information- sharing interactions between the medical community and pharmaceutical companies. These exchanges ensure patients benefit from the most up-to-date information regarding medicines,” says Eduardo Pisani, IFPMA Director General. “Ensuring that governments, healthcare providers and patients are confident that interactions with our members are conducted to the highest ethical and professional standards is our commitment.”

Beyond addressing interactions, the Code now also includes high-level guiding principles for practice, 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, a provision on disclosure of clinical trials information, and guidance for filing complaints. The Code continues to prohibit preapproval promotional activities for pharmaceutical products, company-sponsored entertainment at events, and providing or offering personal gifts to healthcare professionals.

“The new Code provides a framework for the industry to act with integrity and build trust, as we work towards improving patient heath,” says IFPMA President and AstraZeneca CEO David Brennan. “This is not about doing the easy thing, but the right thing.”

Expansion of the Code and the requirement that all members adopt and implement it wherever they operate demonstrates the industry’s commitment. In the interest of patient care, IFPMA calls on physicians, nurses, and other companies to ensure adherence to equally high standards of practice throughout the healthcare sector.

“The expansion of this Code of Practice is welcome and necessary to bring greater clarity to the ethical standards that should be adhered to”, said Durhane Wong-Rieger, Chair, International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO). “The public must have trust and confidence in all healthcare decision-making and IAPO welcomes IFPMA’s commitment to promote appropriate standards and will observe closely how well these are implemented and followed globally.”



The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) represents over 90 innovative pharmaceutical companies and associations around the world. Our industry’s almost three million employees discover, develop, and deliver medicines and vaccines that advance global health. Based in Geneva, IFPMA has official relations with the United Nations and contributes industry expertise to help the global health community improve the lives of people everywhere. For more information, visit

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Elliot Dunster