Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024

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The Central Government recently rolled out a Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) for pharmaceutical companies.

About UCPMP 2024

  • It has been implemented to control unethical practices in the pharma industry.
  • The updated guidelines include drug endorsement, promotion, ethical conduct for medical representatives, and maintaining relationships with healthcare professionals.
  • Important Provisions:
    • It prohibits pharma companies from offering gifts and travel facilities to healthcare professionals or their family members.
    • The UCPMP mandates that medical representatives must not employ any inducement or subterfuge to gain an interview, and they must not pay, under any guise, for access to a healthcare professional.
    • It also holds companies responsible for the actions of the medical representatives.
    • It also bans the supply of free samples to those who are not qualified to prescribe such a product.
    • Each pharma company also needs to maintain details such as product name, doctor name, the number of samples given, date of supply of free samples to healthcare practitioners, etc., and the monetary value of samples so distributed should not exceed two percent of the company's domestic sales per year.
    • All pharmaceutical associations must constitute an Ethics Committee for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (ECPMP), set up a dedicated UCPMP portal on their website, and take further necessary steps towards the implementation of this Code.
    • It also lists in detail how the drug should be promoted, both in texts and in the audio-visual market.
    • The information about drugs must be balanced, up-to-date, and verifiable, and must not mislead either directly or by implication.
    • The pharma companies should not make claims and comparisons of their drug's usefulness, and the word "safe" must not be used without qualification.
    • The word "new" must not be used to describe any drug which has been generally available or any therapeutic intervention which has been generally promoted in India for more than a year.
    • The responsibility for adherence to the code rests with the Chief Executive Officer of pharmaceutical companies.
    • It also detailed the penalties for violating the code and how complaints will be handled.
    • Any violations of the code will be addressed by the ECPMP, ensuring accountability and oversight.

Q1) What are pharmaceuticals?

Pharmaceuticals are substances used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease and for restoring, correcting, or modifying organic functions.

Source: 'No freebies, cash': Centre rolls out pharma marketing code to curb unethical practices