Trade Group Bans Expensive Gifts to Physicians
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations on Wednesday announced that members no longer can provide expensive gifts to physicians under a revised code of ethics, Bloomberg/South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. IFPMA represents pharmaceutical companies worldwide.
IFPMA on Jan. 1 revised the code for the first time in 10 years to bar members from providing physicians with money or expensive gifts -- such as trips to golf resorts or stays in luxury hotels -- that might affect their prescription drug selections. In addition, according to the 21-page code, medical and scientific meetings held by members should not occur at "renowned or extravagant venues," and hospitality at such events should not exceed the level for which physicians would pay personally.
The code allows members to provide physicians with gifts that are related to prescription drugs or that are inexpensive, such as pens or stethoscopes.
IFPMA has established a network of pharmaceutical industry sources to monitor compliance with the code, as well as a panel of experts to hear complaints and appeals. In addition, IFPMA will make violations of the code public.
Harvey Bale, director general of IFPMA, said, "What we're trying to do is prevent as many of the activities as possible that have not helped the reputation of the industry," adding, "We need to make sure the product is the best product for the patient and it's not influenced by gifts and it's not influenced by hospitality or vacations" (Gerlin, Bloomberg/South Florida Sun-Sentinel, 1/4).