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New Voluntary Code of Conduct for Pharma

Posted by | 10:08am on Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This will increase the speed of adoption of web tactics for reaching doctors.  It will also continue to move marketers to adopt more direct communication, transparency, and good content.  

Protonix promotional cupPhRMA, the drug-industry trade group, says it’s banning some of the freebies that sales reps dole out to doctors. This includes pens, mugs, and logo-laden prescription pads. The trade group has outlined its position in a comprehensive code of conduct that drugmakers will be encouraged to follow. This is part of a move to further limit the giveaways phama companies have traditionally used to get attention from health care providers. In a news release, PhRMA CEO Billy Tauzin said:

“Although our member companies have long been committed to responsible marketing of the life-enhancing and life-saving medicines they develop, we have heard the voices of policymakers, healthcare professionals and others telling us we can do better.”

What does this mean for Phama reps and Pharma marketing?  This will increase the speed of adoption of web tactics for reaching doctors.  It will also continue to move marketers to adopt more direct communication, transparency, and good content. How much did the logos on prescription pads really influence physician’s choices anyway? One added benefit of going digital is that more direct education based marketing can be tracked.

Susan Rubenstien of the WSJ notes the code doesn’t tackle one of the touchiest issues: it doesn’t cap how much drugmakers can spend on consulting or speaking arrangements with doctors. The New York Times reports, companies will have to set their own limits and track how much they pay doctors for speaking services. That move could pave the way for compliance with a national registry of payments to doctors by companies, an idea that’s gaining popularity in Congress.

How this will effect the ‘direct to patient advertising through the internet’ vs. the ‘direct to physician’ advertising remains to be seen, but I’m pretty sure you’re going to see budgets begin to shift, don’t you agree?

The image is from the Drug Rep Toys blog, a fun sit filled with lots of other examples of various promotions offered to doctors over the years.

About Wendy White

Since founding Siren Interactive in 1999, Wendy has been recognized as a thought leader at the intersection of niche pharma brands, patient empowerment and online marketing. Her vision for how the internet can facilitate interactions and provide crucial information that patients, caregivers and their healthcare providers previously struggled to find has propelled Siren to the forefront of relationship marketing for rare disorder therapies.

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