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Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP)

Posted on : 11 Feb 2020

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  • Faced with increasing complaints on improper marketing practices employed by pharma companies and lobbying by patient advocacy groups, the Government introduced the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) – this was but a guidance document for the industry, voluntary at first and lacking the necessary regulatory teeth to have force of law. That said, the industry has adopted the same and we have seen a lot of advisory going out in this regard.
  • The UCPMP sets out a level of regulation in that it ensures that:
    • Claims for usefulness, novelty and safety are based on up-to-date scientific data and credible evidence.
    • Comparison of drugs should be fair and free from comparative disparagement.
    • Promotional materials to have minimum prescribed levels of information so as to enable an HCP to exercise his/ her discretion based on the same. Materials to be an honest and accurate representation of the qualities of the drug. Transparency of disclosure to be made in respect of paid journal publications.
    • Control on free samples. Better accountability. Samples are not gifts or freebies.
    • Restriction on quid–pro-quo arrangements. No gifts for personal benefits.
    • No free travel or vacations.
    • No individual monetary grants or funding save and except through modalities laid down by law in a transparent manner. Full disclosure.
  • The UCPMP is India’s version of the US PhRMA Code and the Physicians Payment of Sunshine Act. Interestingly enough, both these legislations have been enforced by the authorities and have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in fines for some pharma companies that were found to be in violation of these regulations. In India, the UCPMP is voluntary.
  • The UCPMP suffered from a serious lack of the proverbial teeth. To effectuate more rigorous regulatory control over marketing activities of the industry, therefore, the Government has been contemplating introduction of the Draft Essential Commodities (Control of Unethical Practices in Marketing of Drugs) Order, 2017 (CUPMD Order). While it surfaced online sometime earlier this year, surprisingly the same has now been removed from the public domain by the Government.

Article Related Questions

  1. Consider the following statements about the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) that was in the news recently
    1.It is a guideline for pharama companies to prevent marketing malpractices.
    2.UCPMP is a voluntary code for Pharma companies and has not been effective in controlling marketing malpractices.
    Choose the correct option

  2. 1.1 only

    2.2 only

    3.Both 1 and 2

    4.Neither 1 nor 2

    Right Ans : Both 1 and 2

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