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DoP directs industry to strictly comply with UCPMP

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Wednesday, February 19, 2020, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) has directed the industry to strictly adopt and comply with the Uniform Code of Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices (UCPMP) failing with the government will make the code mandatory.

“We have strictly instructed all the stakeholders to follow the code voluntarily. If not complied seriously, the department will bring in stricter regulations in the time to come and also think about making it mandatory for effective compliance,” said DoP secretary Dr P D Vaghela.

The UCPMP is a voluntary code of marketing practices for pharmaceutical companies in India introduced in March 2012 by the DoP. DoP is now in process to redraft the UCPMP code and is engaged in discussions with the stakeholders from the pharma and medical device industry for their comments.

As per a DoP circular, it has been decided that the UCPMP also covering the medical devices industry which was implemented w.e.f. January, 2015 also need to be implemented strictly. The Pharma or Medical Device Associations are requested to intimate the action taken by them including constitution of the "Apex Ethics Committee for Pharmaceuticals Marketing Practices (AECPMP)" urgently.

In this regard, the DoP recently held a meeting of all the stakeholders which included Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IP Alliance), Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), Indian Drug Manufacturers Association (IDMA), Confederation of Indian Pharmaceutical Industry (CIPI), Federation of Pharma Entrepreneurs (FOPE) and SME Pharma Industries Confederation (SPIC).

As per the UCPMP code, once it is established that a breach of code has been made by a company, the committee can propose one of the following decisions against the alleged company to the head of the association for action which includes actions like suspend or expel the company from the Association, to reprimand the company and publish details of that reprimand, to require the company to issue a corrective statement in the media (covering all media) which was used to issue promotional material textual & audio visual, details of the proposed content and mode and timing of dissemination of the corrective statement must be provided by the company to the committee for approval.

Penal provisions also include to ask the company to recover items from the concerned persons, given in violation of the code as stipulated in clauses 6 and 7, details of the action taken must be provided by the company in writing to the Committee.

The IDMA had earlier urged the government to clearly define freebies to doctors with reference to the recent Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) circular which says that expenses incurred on freebies to doctors are inadmissible under Section 37(1) of the Income Tax (IT) Act, 1961.

As per IDMA submission to the CBDT, freebies should be clearly defined in terms of cost of such freebies or other gifts or providing a threshold for the allowance of such expenses. As per the circular, expenses incurred on freebies to doctors are inadmissible under IT Act.


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