New Pharma Rules: Opportunity or Threat?

If you haven’t heard about it already, you heard it here first. The new Pharma advertising rules are changing for 2009. According to the PhRMA (Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America), they are revising their conduct code for interacting with health care professionals. The updated guidelines ban any promotional items bearing company and product logos, this includes: pens, post-it notes, calendars and kleenex boxes. Promotional companies be on alert.

Sales representatives are prohibited from providing restaurant meals and entertainment or recreation. But they can still provide the occasional, modest meal in a healthcare professional’s office “in conjunction with informational presentations,” according to a statement from PhRMA.

The updated code also emphasizes that drug companies should separate any funding they provide for continuing medical education from their sales and marketing departments. It notes that the funding should support education “on a full range of treatment options and not to promote a particular medicine.”

PhRMA said meetings between sales representatives and doctors should be focused on informing health care professionals about products, sharing scientific and educational information and supporting research and education.

The new rules take effect January 1, 2009.

According to Angela Hill, owner of strategic branding agency Incitrio, “This is a huge opportunity for the Pharma industry to reposition themselves as a whole. Those companies that jump in first and focus on authenticity and integrity as core brand values will be able to position themselves as thought leaders and gain significant market share.”

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