Pharma Giants Seek Govt's Clarity On New Code Barring Docs From Attending Overseas Meets - Vibes Of India

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Pharma Giants Seek Govt’s Clarity On New Code Barring Docs From Attending Overseas Meets

| Updated: April 13, 2024 12:19

Following the implementation of the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024 by the Centre, foreign drugmakers have asked the government to clarify more specifically if doctors can attend medical conferences outside India on the invitation of companies headquartered abroad.

The new UCPMP, which replaced the earlier 2015 code, seeks to draw a line of “ethical relationships” between medical professionals and pharma companies and clearly says that companies should not organise conferences for doctors in foreign locations.

But, it says, pharma firms, including their trusts or associations, either alone or in collaboration with professional bodies, can organise such conferences in India.

Many times, companies want doctors to join conferences where breakthrough therapies are launched or a drug is approved for a new indication or a new class of action. They normally organise such events abroad, and the intent is not to take doctors to foreign locations but to expose them to breakthrough developments in the pharma sector.

As part of the new UCPMP, pharmaceutical companies have been asked to share details of conferences conducted by them, including the expenditures incurred, on their website, and the information shared may be subjected to independent, random, or risk-based audit.

All organisers will need to explicitly spell out the procedure followed in the selection of participants and speakers, display a statement of their funding sources and expenditures on their website, and may be subject to special audit for this purpose, it says.

The new code also says that the engagement of pharmaceutical industry with healthcare professionals for continuing medical education (CME), continuing professional development (CPD) or for conferences, seminars and workshops should only be allowed through a well-defined, transparent, and verifiable set of guidelines based on which the pharmaceutical industry may undertake such expenditures.

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