Pharmaceutical companies can no longer lavish gifts on doctors to sway prescribing practices, the trade group that represents the world's largest drugmakers said Wednesday.
Companies that belong to the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations must adhere to a revised code of ethics that bars them from giving doctors money or other gifts that might influence drug choices, such as paying for trips to golf resorts or luxury hotels.
The code, updated Jan. 1 for the first time in a decade, applies to the group's 26 member companies and hundreds of other drugmakers that belong to its 46 industry associations.
"What we're trying to do is prevent as many of the activities as possible that have not helped the reputation of the industry," IFPMA director general Harvey E. Bale said in a telephone interview.
"We need to make sure the product is the best product for the patient and it's not influenced by gifts and it's not influenced by hospitality or vacations."
Large pharmaceutical companies spend about one-third of their revenue on sales and marketing, much of it aimed at doctors.
The resulting entanglements between the companies and doctors have become widespread, Bale said.