Dr PD Vaghela, Secretary, Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) organised a review meeting with industry stakeholders with an aim to understand the industry’s preparedness to implement the Uniform Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) in the country.
Chairing the virtual meeting, the DoP secretary also discussed issues related to black marketing of COVID-19 treatment medicines across the country. During the meeting, he mentioned that based on media reports, it is noted that gaps, largely in the retail distribution channels, are leading towards black marketing of COVID-19 essential medicines. He also re-checked with each association’s representative whether they have received any official complaint against their member companies pertaining to black marketing of COVID-19 medicines. All the association representatives informed the authority that no such cases have been reported against their member companies. But, they expressed the need to fix the gaps in the retail distribution channel.
Dr Viranchi Shah, National Vice President, IDMA informed, “IDMA agrees principally with the government’s stand of having a voluntary code of ethics for marketing practices in pharmaceuticals. IDMA has already uploaded on its website the UCPMP guidelines. We have also set up an apex committee and ethics committee as required by DoP. We have also updated the DoP of these compliances.”
He continued, “We have also cited some suggestions and comments regarding the code to the DoP in past. However, due to disruption caused by pandemic, we agree with the view that the review of code can be deferred until a new normal is attained. We look forward to working closely with other pharma associations and government on this issue.”
An industry observer also cited that the COVID-19 pandemic has overall changed the definition of pharma marketing. Therefore, the required amendments should be incorporated into the draft UCPMP guidelines. The code of UCPMP remains a voluntary exercise to be adopted by pharma companies.
An industry source informed that the follow-up meeting on the subject is likely to be held on August 29, 2020.