ISLAMABAD, Sep 24 (APP): The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Chairman has sent a draft code of marketing practices for the pharmaceutical industry to the Minister of Health Services, stating that the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP), the Frontline regulator of the pharmaceutical sector, may be advised to put in place a mechanism for ensuring effective regulation of marketing practices in the pharmaceutical industry. “It mainly relates to restriction on gifts to healthcare professionals”, says a statement issued by the Commission here today.
The recommended code for interacting with healthcare professionals further seeks to clamp down on foreign trips by restricting industry sponsored international conferences and encouraging conferences and trainings of health professionals within the country.
The code also seeks to prevent such meetings from coinciding with sports, entertainment or other leisure events or activities.
The Chairman further added that the SECP considers it critical for the effective oversight of the marketing practices of the pharmaceutical sector and its international image that code for interacting with healthcare professional is put in place.
The review of marketing expenses of pharmaceutical companies revealed instances of weak internal control systems and the fact that a lack of regulatory controls over marketing practices was to some extent responsible for such control issues.
Research on the international practices on the subject revealed that globally codes for interactions with healthcare professionals have been developed in countries such as India, Ireland, the Philippines and the US.
The SECP expressed the hope that the said voluntary code will be a first step in the direction of ensuring ethical interaction with healthcare professionals.
The DRAP shall take this further and shall come up with a compulsory code for healthcare professionals.
The SECP is of the opinion that such steps will ensure transparency and accountability in the interaction between healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry.