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  • 24 August, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

Standard Operating Procedures for Pharmaceutical Mkt

Standard Operating Procedures for Pharmaceutical Marketing

The Dolo-650 tablet manufacturers have been charged by the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT) with spending Rs 1,000 crore on gifts for doctors who prescribe the medication.


  • The dispute arose after income-tax raids on Bengaluru-based pharmaceutical company Micro Labs, which produces the well-known paracetamol brand Dolo-650.


  • It appears that drugmakers' marketing is driven by gift-giving, including free meals, drug samples, and promotional goods. This is a marketing strategy that is well-established in the sector.

Supreme Court case:

A petition asking for guidance from the Centre to give UCPMP a legislative foundation and make it functional, transparent, and accountable is being heard by the Supreme Court.

  • The Uniform Agreement of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP), a voluntary code that is enforced by pharmaceutical groups and corporations, has been guiding pharmaceutical companies' marketing strategies since 2015.
  • Currently, pharmaceutical companies, medical representatives, agents of pharmaceutical companies, such as distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, as well as pharmaceutical manufacturer's associations, are all subject to the UCPMP Code.

Pharma Marketing Unethical Practices

  • To entice doctors to recommend "their drugs," pharmaceutical companies provide them with gifts in kind and cash.
  • Aiding doctors with activities to improve their reputation, such as assisting with the publication of articles and conference speaking, etc.
  • Making doctors lead investigators in clinical trials or pay them well to serve on committees.
  • The international experience also demonstrates that the voluntary code is ineffective.

Way Forward

  • As the UCPMP has not shown to be an adequate code for ethical marketing, it should be made into law.
  • The newly proposed Drugs, Medical Devices, and Cosmetics Act ought to include ethical marketing and promotion.
  • The public should be able to obtain periodic disclosures of payments made by businesses to doctors and professional organizations, whether those payments were made directly or indirectly through other parties.
  • These disclosures ought to be regular and made available to the public.
  • The amount, reason for the expense, and party who was paid should all be disclosed.

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Source: The Hindu

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