Marketing and Sales
Every day, 2.7 million people in the UK take a Pfizer medicine. The way in which we are allowed to communicate with these patients is very strictly regulated, especially when it comes to talking about individual medicines. We are not allowed to advertise our prescription medicines to the public. The law in the UK says that it must be healthcare professionals, using their clinical judgement, who talk to patients about specific medicines that might be appropriate for them.
We are also governed by the Code of Practice drawn up by our trade association, the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), which defines what we can say to patients.
We can answer specific questions about one of our medicines if asked by a patient who is currently taking the medication. However, we are not permitted to discuss any personal medical matters with them – they should consult their own doctor or other healthcare professional on matters relating to their health.
We update healthcare professionals about our medicines regularly and ensure they have the most recent and relevant information available so that they can make the correct prescribing decisions. The Code sets out strict guidelines about the interactions we can have with healthcare professionals and the information and materials we are allowed to provide to them.
The Code also extends to stating how we can operate when holding or sponsoring meetings for healthcare professionals. Hospitality can only be offered in association with certain types of meetings, and it must always be for the purposes of subsistence, secondary to the main purpose of the event. We may not extend that hospitality to anyone attending who has not been invited or is not qualified to be at the meeting. The venues we use must be appropriate to the main purpose of the meeting. Additionally, companies must not fund or organise entertainment. As part of our commitment to being open about our dealings with healthcare professionals, we also ensure that Pfizer’s involvement is clearly disclosed on meeting materials.
In 2011, some important changes to the ABPI Code of Practice took place. The industry no longer provides any branded promotional aids (e.g. pens, pads, etc.) to Healthcare Professionals. From 2012, companies will collect and publish annually the total amount paid to Healthcare Professionals for certain services such as speaker fees and participation in advisory boards. Companies will also publish the total amount paid to sponsor Healthcare Professionals to attend third party meetings (e.g. congresses). Companies will publish these aggregate accounts in 2013 for payments made in 2012.