PhRMA Code’s revised guidelines take effect January 2009

July 16, 2008

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) released updates to its voluntary Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals on July 10. The new guidelines take effect January 2009.

In addition to prohibiting small gifts and reminder items, the revised Code:Prohibits company sales representatives from providing restaurant meals to healthcare professionals, but allows them to provide occasional meals in healthcare professionals’ offices in conjunction with informational presentations
  1. Prohibits company sales representatives from providing restaurant meals to healthcare professionals, but allows them to provide occasional meals in healthcare professionals’ offices in conjunction with informational presentations
  2. Includes new provisions requiring companies to ensure their representatives are sufficiently trained about applicable laws, regulations, and industry codes of practice
  3. Provides that each company will state its intentions to abide by the Code and that company CEOs and compliance officers will certify each year that they have processes in place to comply
  4. Includes more detailed standards regarding the independence of continuing medical education
  5. Provides additional guidance for speaking and consulting arrangements with healthcare professionals
Challenges
  1. Tracking aggregate spending is one of the biggest challenges for pharmaceutical companies
  2. Some companies do not have a system that will accurately record aggregate spending across the organization.
  3. Training employees is another. It’s going to be a challenge getting everyone on the same page.
Benefits
  1. The new guidelines could help the industry regain public trust after “just getting shelled” and constantly being accused of wrongdoing. In addition, some
  2. Companies will be relieved they can reduce their spending on traditional marketing activities.