Relevant extracts from the IFPMA Code
"The voluntary adoption of the IFPMA Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices in 1981 was in accordance with a key objective of the Federation as set out by its Founder Members in 1968 in the Statutes (Article 3) which state that one of the objects of the Federation is "to promote and support continuous development throughout the pharmaceutical industry of ethical principles and practices voluntarily agreed on" and "to coordinate the efforts of its members towards the realisation of the above objects "
"In all its activities the pharmaceutical industry believes that high standards should be defined and respected and is convinced that, so far as its marketing activities are concerned, self discipline is the process which best serves the public interest .
"As part of its commitment to health, the industry has an obligation and responsibility to provide accurate information and education about its products to health care providers in order to establish a clear understanding of the appropriate use of prescription medicines...
"Promotional activities (marketing practices) must be consistent with high ethical standards and information should be designed to help health care providers improve services to patients. Information must be provided with objectivity, truthfulness and in good taste and must conform to all relevant laws and regulations. Claims for therapeutic indications and conditions of use must be based on valid scientific evidence and include clear statements with respect to side effects, contra-indications, and precautions
"Claims should not be stronger than scientific evidence warrants, and every effort should be made to avoid ambiguity
"Where it is permitted by law to communicate directly with patients regarding their prescription medicines, all such information should be accurate, fair and not misleading. Where companies assist in the conduct of public/patient disease awareness programmes to meet growing demands of society for more information and enhance public understanding of disease prevention, signs and symptoms of medical conditions, illnesses, and available treatments, such activities should adhere to the highest standards of accuracy and support the role of the health care provider
"When a complaint calls into question the scientific basis for the claims made for a pharmaceutical product, it is the company's responsibility either to provide the appropriate data and information to justify the way in which it is promoted, or to acknowledge that the promotional material is in breach of the Code and take the necessary remedial steps .
"Companies should deal objectively with requests for information made in good faith and should provide data which are appropriate to the source of the enquiry".
The Code can be seen at www.ifpma.org