Level playing field for ethical conduct is vital

Medicines Australia chief executive Ian Chalmers today welcomed the Government’s commitment to pursue a level playing field for marketing obligations within the therapeutic goods industry.

Medicines Australia member companies are obliged to adhere to all provisions of the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct, which sets a high ethical standard for the marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals. Companies that choose not to belong to Medicines Australia have no such obligation.

The Government’s commitment to establishing a level playing field was confirmed last night by the Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Mark Butler.

“Mr Butler’s interest in this issue is very encouraging. I congratulate him on seizing the initiative on this important matter,” Mr Chalmers said.

“There is an uneven operating environment for the conduct of pharmaceutical companies which undermines public confidence in the industry.

“Clearly the Government shares Medicines Australia’s concerns about the lack of a level playing field across the pharmaceutical industry regarding Code of Conduct compliance. That is why Mr Butler has asked the TGA to convene a meeting of the relevant industry associations to resolve this issue.

“I am looking forward to contributing to a Government-initiated solution that ensures all prescription pharmaceutical companies are required to meet a common ethical standard of professional conduct.

“There is no reason why there should be one ethical standard for innovative pharmaceutical companies, and a different, lesser standard for generic companies.

“There must a level playing field that applies to all companies – not just those which choose to belong to Medicines Australia. The public rightly expects appropriate standards of conduct to apply across the board.

“We are not asking generic companies to become Medicines Australia members.

However, we very firmly believe that every prescription pharmaceuticals company should adhere to the high ethical standards set out in the Medicines Australia Code of Conduct.

“Medicines Australia member companies are making considerable efforts to ensure that all promotional and educational activities they conduct accord with the highest possible ethical standards.

“These efforts include strengthening our Code of Conduct, the 16th edition of which has recently been submitted to the ACCC for authorisation.”


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