Report 3 September 2018

IFPMA Code of Practice 2019


Our Code of Practice was first drawn up in 1981, and it was the first one of its kind for any sector. Initially, correct information on the effects and side effects of medicines were at the core of the Code.

Today, through periodic updates, expectations regarding compliance are much more comprehensive. Updated and revised over the decades, the Code sets out a rules-based compliance framework for clinical research, fees for services, support for continuing medical education, to name but a few. Many local and regional associations rely on the IFPMA Code as guidance for their own codes of conduct. The last Code revision in 2012 saw its scope expanded beyond marketing practices to cover all interactions with healthcare professionals, medical institutions and patient organizations.

Now, with the new Code, we are setting the bar higher. We are placing a global ban on gifts for any company that is a member of IFPMA, and for all those firms that are members of our regional and national associations. This new revised Code is more principles-based and seeks to embody a deeper and broader appreciation of business integrity.

Do we and will we get it right 100 percent of the time? No, our member organizations are comprised of fallible human beings who make mistakes. With this new Code, we reaffirm our commitment to take action when mistakes occur. We take these matters seriously because in healthcare, trust is at the center of all we do, and that trust is built up over time by deeds. A company’s reputation can vanish overnight, and in doing so, can tarnish the reputation of an entire industry.

At IFPMA, across our member companies and throughout our national member associations, we need to champion integrity, ethics, and compliance. Implementing the new and revised Code in full is about walking the talk, about earning our license to operate. As with all things, it is work in progress and I am sure more needs to be done. But we will never stop trying to improve.