ACCC proposes to authorise pharmaceutical industry Code of Conduct

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 30th October 2012

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced its intention to authorise a pharmaceutical industry Code of Conduct that would regulate interactions between Medicines Australia’s pharmaceutical member companies and healthcare professionals.

The Code of Practice will also have a bearing on pharmacies promoting and selling food-type products endorsed by medical professionals.

The ACCC has said that edition 17 of Medicines Australia’s Code of Conduct would have public benefits by providing greater transparency of relationships between pharmaceutical companies and doctors or pharmacists.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said that the ACCC had noted that community expectations of disclosure by the pharmaceutical industry were continuing to increase.

“In light of this, the ACCC considers Medicines Australia could go further in ensuring the Code meets these expectations now and in the future,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC has encouraged Medicines Australia to look for ways to address the concerns that have been raised during the ACCC’s consultation process. These include “improving the accessibility of reports” and “the complaints process,” as well as “considering disclosure of payments” made to individual healthcare professionals.

The draft determination proposes to grant authorisation for three years, rather than the five years sought by Medicines Australia. During this authorisation period, Medicines Australia will be able to complete work it has already commenced on reviewing the Code and make any resulting changes.

The ACCC has granted authorisation to the Code a number of times, most recently in 2009. All member companies of Medicines Australia must adhere to the Code, although membership of Medicines Australia is voluntary.

The ACCC is now seeking submissions from applicants and interested parties on the draft determination.