The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry’s Code of Practice is being modified yet again, this time to ensure that it mirrors new guidelines recently issued by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations.

The ABPI’s Code of Practice was set up in 1958 to provide pharmaceutical companies with a regulatory framework to follow in their dealings and interactions with doctors and other healthcare professionals. Those falling foul of the Code could face suspension from the Association or a public naming and shaming via adverts in the pharmaceutical and medical press, with punishments designed to have maximum impact on the company while boosting the public’s perception of the industry.

Following the introduction of a new, tougher version in January last year, the Code will now be revised again to cover certain aspects of pharmaceutical companies’ relationships with patient organisations, as laid out in the EFPIA’s code.

More transparency
These changes, which need to be implemented by July 1 next year, are clearly geared towards booting the level of transparency of relationships between the industry and patient groups, and include a new requirement on firms to include a short description of the nature of the support they provide, as well as the declaration of financial backing, indirect or non-financial support, the ABPI said.

Furthermore, the Code may be tweaked in other areas too. As Nigel Brooksby, President of the ABPI, explained: “As well as taking on board the comparatively small number of changes that the new European patient code makes necessary, we shall be looking at including any suggested alterations identified during the life of the current code.”

Unfortunately, a spokesperson for the ABPI was not able to give any further details on what these other changes may be.