Pharmaceutical companies in Ireland may no longer use well-known entertainment or other leisure activity venues to promote their products to health professionals, new guidelines have stated.
According to a report in The Irish Times, the updated code of marketing practice for the industry has strict criteria for promoting new drugs to health professionals. Corporate activities involving sporting, entertainment or social events must not be extended to healthcare professionals. And promotional meetings may not be held to coincide with sporting or entertainment events.
The code also states companies should not hold events abroad unless absolutely necessary and foreign professionals are also attending. Travel expenses are not to be paid for spouses or partners unless those persons are also healthcare professionals involved in the field. Companies can, however, provide corporate hospitality if it is a bona fide charity event.
It states health professionals should not receive more than four medical samples of a particular new medicine per year. Sampling cannot extend to any mind-altering drugs such as sedatives or anti-depressants. And pharmaceutical companies must declare in clear language any support they give to patients’ associations.
The guidelines are to ensure Irish-based pharmaceutical companies comply with the updated European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations regulations.