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The executive committee of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) in Washington, DC, has unanimously adopted a voluntary code that addresses marketing interactions between health care professionals and sales representatives of pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. It does not address relationships with clinical investigators relating to pre-approval studies.
The PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals permits industry representatives and others speaking on behalf of a company to conduct informational presentations and discussions that provide valuable scientific and educational benefits.
The code says, "In connection with such presentations and discussions, meals [but no entertainment/recreational events] may be offered so long as they: a) are modest as judged by local standards; and b) occur in a venue and manner conducive to informational communication and provide scientific or educational value." Inclusion of a health care professional’s spouse or other guests is not appropriate.
Offering "take-out" meals or meals to be eaten in the absence of a company representative, such as "dine-and-dash" programs, also is inappropriate.
In addition, the code specifies that items primarily for the benefit of patients may be offered to health care professionals if they are not of substantial value ($100 or less). The new code also provides that no grants, scholarships, subsidies, support, consulting contracts, or educational or practice-related items should be provided or offered to a health care professional in exchange for prescribing products or for a commitment to continue prescribing products.
"Nothing should be offered or provided in a manner or on conditions that would interfere with the independence of a healthcare professional’s prescribing practices," the code states.
For more information about the code, go to the web site: www.phrma.org/publications/2002-04-19.391.pdf.