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DoP again extends voluntary implementation of UCPMP by pharma companies till December 2015

Ramesh Shankar, Mumbai
Friday, October 9, 2015, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Even as the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP) is engaged in discussions with the stakeholders to make the Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices (UCPMP) compulsory for pharma companies in the country, the department has once again extended the voluntarily implementation of UCPMP by four months till December 31, 2015.

Earlier, the department had extended the voluntarily implementation of UCPMP by two months from July 1 to August 31, 2015. The department had implemented the UCPMP voluntarily for a period of six months with effect from January 1, 2015 which came to an end on June 30, 2015.

Presently, the DoP is reviewing the voluntary compliance of the UCPMP by the pharma companies during the last eight months and is engaged in discussions with the stakeholders from the pharma and medical device industry to review and take a final call on mandatorily implementing the norms for ethical marketing practices in these sectors, so as to curb the unethical practices adopted by several companies to market their products among medical practitioners.

But, as the discussions with the stakeholders remained inconclusive, the department has now decided to extend the voluntarily implementation of uniform code by another four months.

After several years of dilly-dallying on the issue, the DoP in November last year had issued the much awaited UCPMP which should be voluntarily adopted and complied with by the pharma industry for a period of six months with effect from January 1, 2015 and it would be reviewed thereafter on the basis of the inputs received by the department.

As per the UCPMP, no gifts, pecuniary advantages or benefits in kind may be supplied, offered or promised to persons qualified to prescribe or supply drugs, by a pharmaceutical company or any of its agents i.e. distributors, wholesalers, retailers, etc. Gifts for the personal benefit of healthcare professionals and family members (both immediate and extended) (such as tickets to entertainment events) also are not be offered or provided.

The document further says that companies or their associations/representatives or any person acting on their behalf shall not extend any travel facility inside the country or outside, including rail, air, ship, cruise tickets, paid vacations, etc., to healthcare professionals and their family members for vacation or for attending conference, seminars, workshops, CME programme etc. as a delegate.

Besides, companies should not extend any hospitality like hotel accommodation to healthcare practitioners and their family members under any pretext. Companies should not pay any cash or monetary grants to any healthcare professional for individual purpose in individual capacity under any pretext. Funding for medical research, study etc, can only be extended through approved institutions by modalities laid down by law/rules/guidelines adopted by such approved institutions, in a transparent manner.

As per the new UCPMP, free samples of drugs shall not be supplied to any person who is not qualified to prescribe such product. Where samples of products are distributed by a medical representative, the sample must be handed directly to a person qualified to prescribe such product or to a person authorised to receive the sample on their behalf.


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