Pharma Bureau – an association of the research-based pharmaceutical multinationals – has welcomed the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan’s (DRAP) initiative to increase transparency in interactions between health care providers and promotions in the industry.
“We welcome the latest directive issued by the DRAP to increase transparency and provide the details of expenditures on promotional activities by pharmaceutical companies,” Executive Director Pharma Bureau Ayesha Tammy Haq said in a statement on Monday.
Emphasizing the importance of improving the ethical basis of promotion, she said that it is hoped that these steps will lead to the enforcement of ethical promotional practices in Pakistan and also urge the need to finalise and decide on guidelines for ethical interactions by the medical profession and the DRAP.
Haq stressed on the need for a foolproof mechanism for ensuring that these guidelines are made uniformly effective across the pharmaceutical industry. She added that the need for developing and putting such a mechanism in place is long overdue and the DRAP must consider how this can be made to deter malpractices, keeping patient interests foremost.
She said that the Pharma Bureau has also put in place its own self-monitoring mechanism with an ethics committee comprising of professionals from medical, ethics, compliance and finance functions.
The mandate of the committee is to ensure compliance with global ethics guidelines, suggest marketing standards for all Pharma Bureau member companies and also resolve inter-company issues related to pharmaceutical promotion.
She also pointed out that the Pharma Bureau has over the last three years proactively arranged seminars on ethical marketing practices and guidelines, most recently in December 2012 in Lahore. This seminar was attended by a large number of professionals from the industry, doctors, regulators, health care providers and consumer marketing practices as well as US ‘Sunshine representatives’ participated and suggested their proposals for the improvements in the ethical marketing practices in Pakistan.
“We would like to welcome the development of consistent guidelines on pharmaceutical promotion and enforcement of ethical code of pharmaceutical practices at the national level by the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA),” said Haq, adding that the same should be equally implemented and followed by all the national and multinational pharmaceutical companies in Pakistan.
“We hope that it will help to improve patient outcomes and will improve the image of both the pharmaceutical industry as well as the medical community,” she concluded.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 22nd, 2014.