Members of the Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) have revised the Code of Practice that guide interactions with healthcare professionals. The Code sets standards for the promotion of medicines to health professionals in Kenya. It includes requirements for the provision of information to patients and the public and relationships with patient groups.
In 2016, KAPI rolled out the Code of practice, which is a self-regulation tool for the association members (local and multinational pharmaceutical firms) and seeks to curb unethical practices in the pharmaceutical market place such as inducements to healthcare professionals in the private and public sector.
Speaking during a stakeholder consultative forum, KAPI Chairperson Dr Anastasia Nyalita said that the Code of practice has been revised to align them with the global best practice while recognizing local unique challenges.
“Today, our members have reaffirmed their commitment to the Code of Practice that was passed recently to guide interactions with healthcare professionals. We believe this will go a long way to improve the quality of health service delivery in the country, as well as strengthening health systems in the country,” said Dr. Nyalita. Adding that the Code stipulates that any sponsorship provided to healthcare professionals must not be conditional upon an obligation to prescribe, recommend, purchase, supply, administer or promote any pharmaceutical product.
“Through the promotion of this Code, KAPI seeks to ensure that ethical promotional practices are established in Kenya. Subsequently, the new Code has imposed a ban on gifts and promotional Aids for Prescription Only Medicines,” said Dr. Jack Kileba who chairs the Ethics and Compliance Committee for KAPI.
The Code is binding to all KAPI members, restricts them from unethically influencing doctors or any other healthcare professionals prescribing practices. It also prohibits them from offering financial benefit or benefit in kind as an inducement for their services.
“Industry relationships with healthcare professionals must support, and be consistent with, the professional responsibilities healthcare professionals have towards their patients,” Dr. Nyalita emphasized in her remarks during the inauguration of Pharmacy and Poisons Board ISO 9001:2015 Certification.
The Code has also been aligned to IFPMA Code to member association codes such as EFPIA and PhRMA where a ban has been in force for several years.
The Stakeholder forum was attended by healthcare representatives from private and public hospitals and medical associations who are equally committed to promoting ethical practices in their institutions.
Ethical promotion is vital to the pharmaceutical industry’s mission of helping patients by researching, developing and marketing new products. Ethical promotion helps to ensure that healthcare professionals have access to information they need, that patients have access to the products they need, and that products are prescribed and used in a manner that provides the maximum healthcare benefit to patients.