Companies need to build a robust internal compliance review program for government regulations in pharma marketing to be effective: Ernst & Young
Mumbai, 19 September 2011 – Pharma companies in India should focus on building a robust internal controls system for ensuring compliance with the code formulated by Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) to regulate marketing practices, according a new Ernst & Young survey report. The Ernst & Young study titled 'Pharmaceutical marketing: ethical and responsible conduct' is based on a survey conducted among a mix of Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) and pharma marketing professionals to understand the effectiveness of the newly introduced regulatory guidelines around pharmaceutical marketing.
The survey provides an insight on how current regulations are affecting the HCPs and the pharmaceutical industry. The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP), recently formed by the Government of India, has introduced a voluntary draft of uniform code of pharmaceutical marketing practices (UCPMP) with an aim to check any irregularities in the industry. On the other hand, the Medical Council of India (MCI) added new regulations with regards to the HCPs with the pharmaceutical and other allied healthcare sector companies.
Speaking on the survey, Arpinder Singh, Partner & National Leader, Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services (FIDS), Ernst & Young India said, “Along with the MCI guidelines and code of marketing, India has adopted a two-tier approach that covers HCPs (doctors) and pharmaceutical companies operating in the country, to create a transparent and ethical environment that will benefit consumers. However, our survey indicated that effectiveness of the code will be low in the absence of legislative support to the UCPMP committee.”
Some of the key findings of the survey:
- Around two-third of the respondents felt that the implementation of the UCPMP would change the manner in which the pharma products are currently marketed in India
- More than 50% of the respondents are of the opinion that UCPMP's guidelines may lead to manipulation in recording of actual sampling activity
- More than 50% of the respondents indicated that the effectiveness of the code will be very low in the absence of legislative support provided to the UCPMP committee
- Majority of the respondents (90%) felt that pharma companies in India should focus on building a robust internal controls system for ensuring compliance with the UCPMP
- Around 72% of the respondents felt that the MCI was not stringently enforcing its medical ethics guidelines
- Only 36% of the respondents felt that the MCI's guidelines would have an impact on the overall sales of the pharma companies
“In order to ensure ethical and transparent relationship between the medical practitioners and pharmaceutical companies, the Government will continue to introduce new regulations. It is the responsibility of pharma companies to demonstrate their compliance with these regulations. One of the best ways to achieve this can be by putting in place an effective internal compliance review program (CRP),” suggested Arpinder Singh.
The ethical conduct of heath care professionals is vital for maintaining professional autonomy, integrity and independence in their interactions with pharmaceutical and allied health care organizations. Implementation of good marketing practices by pharmaceutical companies demonstrates their adoption of ethical practices and transparency in their operations.
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