April 17, 2023
Recently, there have been two notable cases regarding pharmaceutical advertising code violations based on LinkedIn content. It was announced that Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has been suspended by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) for over two years due to "serious breaches" of the ABPI code of practice. According to the ABPI allegations, Novo Nordisk sponsored weight management courses on LinkedIn for health professionals without disclosing its involvement. The complaint deemed this action as an attempt to bribe health professionals to prescribe the company's products. This incident emphasizes the significance of transparency in pharmaceutical marketing and the necessity for companies to adhere to ethical codes of conduct.
In two recent rulings issued by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA), which regulates the marketing code of pharmaceutical firms in the UK, it was identified that two companies were found to have violated three PMCPA clauses each:
The codes of conduct include guidelines that encourage pharmaceutical companies to act responsibly and ethically when promoting their products, thereby avoiding practices that could be considered inappropriate or misleading. The ABPI collaborates closely with the UK government, healthcare professionals, patient groups, and other stakeholders to promote the interests of the pharmaceutical industry, and to ensure that patients in the UK receive the best possible care.
The advertising and promotion of pharmaceutical products in the UK are regulated by a combination of laws, regulations, and codes of practice. The following are some of the key regulatory bodies that apply to advertising and promotion of pharmaceutical products in the UK and other countries in the EU:
It is crucial for pharmaceutical companies to be aware of these promotional review regulatory bodies and their respective laws, regulations and codes of practice to ensure that their advertising and promotional activities are compliant. Failure to comply can result in enforcement actions, fines, and damage to a company's reputation.
Codes of practice cover a wide range of activities, including advertising, sponsoring events and meetings, and providing information to healthcare professionals. The enforcement of these codes and requirements is taken very seriously and there are a few measures in place to ensure compliance. For example, if the company is found to have breached the code, the ABPI can take a number of enforcement actions. These may include:
To avoid suspension from industry associations and regulatory bodies, pharmaceutical companies must adhere to strict ethical and legal standards when promoting their products. Here are some general guidelines that pharmaceutical companies can follow:
Companies also have a responsibility to conduct thorough reviews of these materials to ensure that they comply with relevant regulations. The typical promotional review involves input and approval from medical affairs, regulatory affairs, and legal or compliance professionals who collaborate with the marketing team to ensure adherence to all the regulations, codes and requirements and keep companies out of trouble. The purpose of the review is to confirm the medical accuracy of communications and marketing materials, ensure adherence to regulatory requirements, and prevent any violations of existing laws.
ProPharma plays a vital role in assisting pharmaceutical companies in ensuring compliance with advertising and promotion regulations through our expert consulting services. Here are some ways in which ProPharma can help:
ProPharma provides valuable support to pharmaceutical, biotech, vaccine and medical device companies in achieving compliance with advertising and promotion regulations. By collaborating with our experienced consultants, companies can mitigate the risk of non-compliance, avoid enforcement actions, investigations, fines and safeguard their reputation. Learn more about our global promotional review capabilities or contact an expert today.
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