Industry embraces tougher Code of Conduct

Medicines Australia acting chief executive Dr Brendan Shaw has welcomed the ACCC’s decision today to authorise the new, tougher Medicines Australia Code of Conduct.

The Code of Conduct sets the ethical standard for the marketing and promotion of prescription medicines in Australia.

Dr Shaw said the ACCC’s decision reflected the considerable work undertaken by the innovative pharmaceutical industry to ensure its marketing and promotional activities continued to reflect community standards.

“Medicines Australia members have worked very hard over the past three years to demonstrate their commitment to transparency and ethical conduct,” Dr Shaw said.

“The Code provides an ethical framework for companies when they interact with health professionals and consumers. Medicines Australia members are continuously redoubling their efforts to ensure their conduct remains at a high ethical standard and that the Code sets the benchmark for industry self-regulation.

“The ACCC’s authorisation is the culmination of an 18-month consultation process during which Medicines Australia and the ACCC have sought input from patient groups, consumer organisations, healthcare professionals, Colleges, professional associations, academics and other stakeholders.

“I thank the many people who given up their time to make submissions and attend workshops as part of this review process.

“We have listened carefully to their suggestions and recommendations and we have acted upon them. The outcome is a tough and robust Code of Conduct which meets the community’s expectations.

“Medicines Australia members will continue to work towards ensuring the industry maintains the highest standard of transparency and ethical behaviour.”

Areas in which provisions of the Code have been strengthened are:

  • Brand name reminders: a ban on brand name reminders that are ordinarily usedutside the surgery (eg pens, coffee mugs, notepads etc)
  • Prescribing software: a ban on advertisements for prescription medicines in prescribing software used by doctors
  • Support for consumer groups: any support provided by consumer groups must be disclosed on the company’s website
  • Fines: the maximum fine for a breach of the Code is increased to $300,000

Edition 16 of the Code of Conduct will come into effect on 1 January 2010.

Edition 16 of the Code of Conduct is available here


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