Codes of Conduct

Finland

The objective of the voluntary guidance is to increase the reliability of the marketing of medicines and to promote the information value of the marketing message vis-à-vis the consumers and healthcare professionals, thus contributing to an appropriate use of medicines. The research, development and production of medicinal products meet the highest quality standards. The same objective also applies to the marketing of medicinal products.

The pharmaceutical industry performs research on medicines, introducing them to the market for the pharmacy professionals as well as physicians, dentists and veterinarians to dispense, prescribe or use for the treatment of the patients. The healthcare professionals also play a core role in the collecting of the pharmaceutical research and other information. In order to guarantee pharmaceutical development and proper use of medicines, the co-operation between the pharmaceutical industry and the healthcare professionals is of vital importance. The co-operation must take place in the framework of unambiguous and transparent guidelines.

Representing the medicine users and their close ones, the patient organisations play a significant role. The co-operation between patient organisations and pharmaceutical companies is necessary but it must be transparent by nature, conducted in the framework of clear guidelines so that the autonomy of both parties is safeguarded.

The consumers and patients have an increasing need to obtain information on various diseases. The pharmaceutical industry can also provide such information, having substantial information on various diseases as well as on their prevention, diagnosis and treatment. The information disseminated by the pharmaceutical companies is complementary to that given by, among others, the healthcare professionals and the Authorities, and it has to meet the high ethical requirements related to the quality and objectivity of the information.

The legislator and the medicines control authorities regulate and monitor some of the themes covered by the present Code of Ethics. The voluntary ethical control by the pharmaceutical industry is complementary to their work.

The present Code of Ethics incorporates the following guidelines and instructions regarding pharmaceutical marketing and other information distributed by the pharmaceutical companies, as well as the co-operation between the pharmaceutical industry and its various stakeholder groups.

  • Code for the Marketing of Medicinal Products
  • Code for the Good Medical Sales Representation Practices
  • Code for the co-operation between the pharmaceutical industry and patient organisations
  • Code for health awareness information and other information on health and diseases targeted at consumers

Moreover, the Code of Ethics also includes a section on the monitoring of the compliance of the above codes, on preliminary inspection operations, on the sanctions following from non-compliance as well as on certain other stipulations.

The Code of Ethics sets forth generally accepted operative principles which the pharmaceutical companies shall comply with in their operations. In particular, the purpose of the Code of Ethics is to ensure that the healthcare professionals and consumers receive correct information on the medicines and their use and that the co-operation between the pharmaceutical industry and its co-operation partners is transparent, respecting the autonomy of both parties.

Distributing information on medicines is the responsibility and social obligation of any pharmaceutical company. Without it, the information about new medications would spread slowly which would be a disadvantage, especially for patients awaiting treatment. The pharmaceutical companies play a central role in the production and distribution of information on medicines.

The principles behind the Code for the Marketing of Medicinal Products are based on legislation relating to medicinal products, marketing, consumer protection and competition, on the International Code of Marketing Practice as well as on the Codes of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practice published by EFPIA (European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations) and IFPMA (International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Associations). In formulating the Code, the following EU legislation has also been taken into account: the Directives 2001/83/EC and 2004/27/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the Community code relating to medicinal products for human use; the Council Directive 89/552/EEC and 2007/65/EC on the coordination of certain provisions laid down by law, Regulation or administrative action in Member States concerning the pursuit of television broadcasting activities; the Directive 2005/29/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning unfair business-to-consumer commercial practices in the internal market; as well as the Council Directive 84/450/EEC relating to the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States concerning misleading advertising.

The Code for the Good Medical Sales Representation Practices is a recommendation jointly issued by Pharma Industry Finland and Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. In preparing the above document, the recommendation for quality criteria for sales promotion of medicines issued by National Agency for Medicines in 2007 was also taken into consideration.

The instructions regarding the co-operation between the pharmaceutical industry and patient organisations have been prepared in line with the corresponding EFPIA Code of practice from 2007, in particular.