Press Release

PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals

PhRMA April 30, 2013

Washington, D.C. (October 18, 2010) — Fifty-four biopharmaceutical research companies have now pledged to abide by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America’s (PhRMA) Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals – a testament to the sector’s strong commitment to adopt policies and practices that best serve the needs of patients and the healthcare community.

Among the companies that have committed to conform to the standards and principles outlined in the voluntary Code are 31 PhRMA members and 23 non-member companies. PhRMA believes that all companies that interact with healthcare professionals should adopt procedures to assure adherence to the Code – and welcomes them to join as signatories.

The PhRMA Code, which was revised and strengthened in July 2008, is part of an ongoing effort to ensure that biopharmaceutical marketing practices and informational activities comply with the highest ethical and professional standards.

“The best patient care requires doctors and other healthcare professionals to have the most accurate, up-to-date information possible regarding new and existing medicines,” said PhRMA Senior Vice President Wes Metheny. “Whether it’s through direct company interactions with healthcare professionals or helping to facilitate information exchanges among peers in the medical community, America’s biopharmaceutical research companies take this responsibility very seriously. The Code is just one reflection of this continual commitment.”

Research has shown that many factors impact prescribing decisions, including physicians’ clinical knowledge and experience, patients’ unique situations, peer-reviewed journals, continuing medical education, interactions with peers, and insurance coverage and formularies. Recent prescribing trends reflect these influences, particularly insurer strategies such as tiered co-pays and prior authorization. Today, 75 percent of all prescriptions are filled by generic drugs, up from 47 percent in 2000.

The PhRMA Code reaffirms that interactions between biopharmaceutical research companies and healthcare professionals “should be focused on informing the healthcare professionals about products, providing scientific and educational information, and supporting medical research and education.”

The Code contains detailed provisions specific to the conduct and training of speakers. Under the Code, company decisions regarding the selection of healthcare professionals are based on defined criteria such as medical expertise, reputation, knowledge and experiences in a particular therapeutic area, and communication skills.

Reinforcing signatory companies’ commitment to ensure that interactions with healthcare professionals are focused on providing benefit to patients and advancing health information, the Code permits companies to provide educational items of modest value for use in the healthcare provider’s practice, but prohibits distribution of non-educational items (such as pens, mugs and other “reminder” objects adorned with a company or product logo) to healthcare providers and their staff. It also 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.

In addition, the Code includes detailed standards regarding the independence of continuing medical education (CME) and disclosure requirements for healthcare providers who are members of committees that set formularies or develop clinical practice guidelines and who also serve as speakers or consultants for a pharmaceutical company.

New, innovative medicines play a key role in patient care, enabling patients to live longer, healthier, more productive lives. America’s biopharmaceutical research companies are committed to providing healthcare professionals with accurate, up-to-date information about new treatments and the benefits and risks of medicines.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to inventing medicines that allow patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. PhRMA companies are leading the way in the search for new cures. PhRMA members alone invested an estimated $50.3 billion in 2008 in discovering and developing new medicines. Industry-wide research and investment reached a record $65.2 billion in 2008.

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