Centre bans pharma companies from giving gifts, sponsored tours to doctors

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The department under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers released Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices 2024 for strict compliance by all the pharma companies in the country

Published Date – 13 March 2024, 06:11 PM


Centre bans pharma companies from giving gifts, sponsored tours to doctors

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Hyderabad: In a move aimed at regulating relationship between doctors, pharma companies and how medicines are marketed in the country, the Department of Pharmaceuticals has banned traditionally well-established practices of giving gifts to doctors, meeting their international and domestic travel expenses, providing hospitality in star-hotels resorts and even monetary grants.

The department under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers released Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024 for strict compliance by all the pharma companies in the country.


In a section dedicated to ‘Relationship with Healthcare Professionals’, the code said, “No gift should be offered for personal benefit of any healthcare professionals or their family members by pharma companies, agent, distributors and wholesale retailers”.

“Pharma companies should not extend travel facilities inside or outside the country, including rail, air, ship, cruise tickets, paid vacations, etc., to healthcare professionals to attend conferences, seminars, workshops etc., unless the person is a speaker for a CME or a CPD Program,” it said. Pharma companies were also told not to pay cash or monetary grant to any healthcare professional under any pretext.

The new code has guidelines on distributing free drug samples to doctors and said samples should be provided to a qualified person only for the purpose of creating awareness about treatment options and for acquiring experience in dealing with the product.

The sample packs of medicines should be limited to prescribed dosage for not more than three patients for the required course of treatment. Pharma companies should not provide more than 12 such sample packs per drug to any health care practitioners per year, the guidelines made it clear.

What pharma companies can’t do for a doctor?

• No gifts should be offered health care professionals
• Should not extend international/domestic travel expenses,
• No paid vacations, no rail/ air/ship cruise tickets to doctors and their family members
• Companies should not extend hospitality like hotel stay, expensive cuisine, resort stay
• Not grant monitory grant to doctors under any pretest.
• Free samples only to qualified doctors and not more than 12 packs per drug in a year

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