Pharmaceutical Companies Gear Up to Comply with New Ethical Marketing Code

The pharmaceutical industry is taking significant strides toward ethical marketing practices with the introduction of the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024. As per the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) circular dated May 28, pharma companies must submit a self-declaration form by June 30, 2024, to ensure compliance with the newly notified code. This blog delves into the implications of this mandate and the preparations made by pharmaceutical companies and associations to align with the ethical standards set by UCPMP 2024.

Ensuring Accountability in Ethical Marketing

The UCPMP 2024 aims to curb unethical marketing practices in the pharmaceutical industry, specifically targeting inducements offered to healthcare professionals by medical representatives. By making the code quasi-statutory, the DoP seeks to enforce strict adherence to ethical marketing guidelines, ensuring accountability at the highest levels of pharmaceutical companies.

According to Sudarshan Jain, secretary-general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Association, the requirement for CEOs to submit a self-declaration form for FY25 is crucial to maintaining accountability and integrity within the industry. This move is expected to foster a culture of ethical conduct and transparency, reinforcing the industry’s commitment to responsible marketing practices.

Industry-Wide Support and Preparation

Pharmaceutical bodies have welcomed the government’s initiative, recognizing it as necessary to ensure ethical marketing. Anil Matai, director-general of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India, noted that pharma companies have been preparing diligently to comply with the new code since its issuance in March 2024. This proactive approach underscores the industry’s dedication to upholding high standards of conduct and maintaining public trust.

Pharmaceutical associations are also playing a pivotal role in implementing the UCPMP 2024. These associations must form five-member ethics committees tasked with overseeing the code’s implementation and addressing any breaches. Penalties for violations can range from suspension to expulsion from the association, depending on the severity of the breach. A senior official from the Indian Drug Manufacturers Association highlighted that their association has already completed the formation of its ethics committee and is prepared to seek external professional assistance if necessary.

Risk-Based Audits and Collaborative Compliance

In addition to the ethics committees, the DoP will establish a separate panel of auditors to periodically conduct risk-based audits of expenditure breaches. Arunish Chawla, secretary in the DoP, emphasized the importance of balancing cooperative and collaborative compliance to facilitate the effective implementation of the new code. This dual approach aims to ensure that pharmaceutical companies not only adhere to ethical guidelines but also actively engage in maintaining high standards of marketing practices.


The introduction of the UCPMP 2024 marks a significant milestone in the pharmaceutical industry’s journey toward ethical marketing. By requiring CEOs to submit self-declaration forms and establishing ethics committees, the DoP fosters accountability and transparency. As pharmaceutical companies and associations prepare to comply with the new code, their commitment to ethical conduct and public trust is evident.

For healthcare professionals, patients, and stakeholders, these developments signify a positive shift toward responsible marketing practices prioritizing patient welfare and integrity. As the industry adapts to these new standards, the collaboration between regulatory bodies and pharmaceutical companies will be crucial in achieving the shared goal of ethical healthcare.

Together, we can contribute to a more transparent and responsible healthcare ecosystem.

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