The members of the association “Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle für die Arzneimittelindustrie e.V.” (FSA) (“Voluntary Self-regulation for the Pharmaceutical Industry”) have made a commitment to communicate the knowledge required for the appropriate selection and application of pharmaceuticals by disseminating accurate and objective scientific information. Pharmaceuticals are technically sophisticated and complex goods requiring comprehensive explanation. It is, therefore, an indispensable task of any pharmaceutical undertaking to provide healthcare professionals with all necessary and suitable information regarding the significance and characteristics of medicinal products by considering both the possible applications and benefits of pharmaceuticals as well as the limits and risks of their application by taking account of the latest findings of medical sciences. In addition, both the research and the development of effective pharmaceuticals would be virtually impossible without close expert collaboration with the medical profession, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals. The trust-based relationship between physician and patient is the foundation of each therapy. The therapy decision is the sole responsibility of the medical profession. Pharmacists guarantee the provision of appropriate advice in the supply of the medicinal product prescribed by the physician in charge.
Advertising is a key element of market economy and an expression of intense competition within the pharmaceutical industry. This Code of Conduct is not intended to restrain fair competition. Rather, for the members of the FSA, the principle applies that pharmaceuticals are to be adequately advertised, avoiding unfair practices and conflicts with healthcare professionals in relation to professional ethics. All measures in advertising and collaborating with physicians and other healthcare professionals must remain within certain appropriate bounds and in accordance with the law. In this respect, the principles of separation, transparency, documentation and, for mutual services, the principle of equivalence as stipulated in the “Common Position” of the associations (Common Position of the Associations for assessing the Collaboration between Industry, Medical Facilities and their Employees in Reference to German Criminal Law) for the clinical sector also outline valuable reference points for the collaboration of the pharmaceutical industry with office based physicians and other healthcare professionals.