News: Drug reps discouraged from giving docs small gifts

August 15, 2008

Drug company sales reps are being discouraged from leaving small gifts such as coffee mugs and golf balls at doctors' offices, according to a new marketing code adopted by PhRMA.

Pharmaceutical sales reps will no longer be encouraged to distribute gifts of low value - coffee mugs, pens, golf balls, pads of paper, and the like - emblazoned with a company or product logo, according to the newly revised marketing code of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). In addition, restaurant meals are banned, but reps may continue to bring food to doctors' offices in conjunction with a presentation. The most valuable addition to the code, perhaps, is the requirement that drug reps are properly trained in the laws, regulations, and industry codes of practice that govern their interaction with physicians. Moreover, drug company CEOs and compliance officers will have to attest that their firms are abiding by the revised PhRMA code, similarly to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, which governs ethical conduct in the financial services industry.