PhRMA Revises Marketing Code for Drugmakers

July 11, 2008

Drugmakers need to require consultants who are members of committees that develop clinical guidelines or set formularies to disclose their corporate relationships to the committees, according to a marketing code of conduct just revised by PhRMA.
“This disclosure requirement should extend for at least two years beyond the termination of any speaker or consultant arrangement,” the revised code states.

In addition, the new code bans the practice of distributing non-educational gifts to physicians, such as drug pens and mugs, and continues to ban tickets to sporting events. Educational gifts, including anatomical models, medical textbooks, subscriptions to relevant scientific journals and copies of treatment guidelines, that are less than $100 are still allowed.

Providing meals for doctors outside their offices is prohibited. Only “modest” meals in the physicians’ offices can be purchased during informational presentations. Firms need to train sales representatives on the code and assess them periodically to ensure they abide by it.

According to Billy Tauzin, CEO of the trade group and former House Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, revisions to the code took nearly a year to develop and all member companies have endorsed it.

The revisions come at a time when members of Congress are considering legislation sponsored by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), which would require a national registry of pharmaceutical industry payments to physicians.

The revised code takes effect next January. A copy of the guidelines can be accessed at www.phrma.org/files/PhRMA Marketing Code 2008.pdf.