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Medicines Australia Committed to Transparency and Tough Code of Conduct

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Media Release

Achieving full authorisation of the Code is an important milestone for Medicines Australia. We intend to maintain a tough Code, which will continue to require it to be authorised by the Commission.

“The Tribunal decision is disappointing”, said Medicines Australia Chief Executive, Ian Chalmers, “while we will abide by the decision we don’t feel it adds anything to the already large public benefit provided by our strong Code of Conduct”.

The pharmaceutical industry’s Code of Conduct has been in place since 1960, has gone through 15 editions and is one of the toughest in Australia.

“Even an expert witness for the ACCC admitted that the publication of raw data required by the ACCC condition would not assist members of the public to assess the appropriateness of hospitality provided to participants at valuable and legitimate educational events” said Mr Chalmers.

The ongoing education of doctors about innovative, safe and effective medicines is a fundamental part of Australia’s health system and contributes to the well being of patients. The education provided is of the highest standard and informs doctors about medicines they may prescribe.

Pharmaceutical companies have an obligation to provide medical practitioners with information about their products and to receive feedback on them from clinicians.

Any member of the public can lodge complaints against the Code of Conduct and pharmaceutical companies do not sit in judgement of each other.

An independent committee made up of representatives appointed by peak medical associations, lawyers with significant expertise in trade practices law, and a consumer representative assess all complaints. Breaches of the Code can attract fines of up to $200,000 and requirement for corrective action.

An independent Monitoring Committee also regularly reviews promotional material to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Code.

While the decision by the Tribunal is disappointing, Medicines Australia will abide by the decision and makes an ongoing commitment to the Code of Conduct – it will be strictly enforced and, where breaches occur, sanctions will be applied.

Medicines Australia will make the necessary changes required to comply with the decision.

–ENDS–

Contact Person:

Jamie Nicholson
Media Communications Manager
Phone: 0419 220 293
Email:
Jamie.Nicholson@medicinesaustralia.com.au

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