The Medicines Australia Code of Conduct guides the promotion of prescription products by pharmaceutical companies.1 Each year Medicines Australia publishes a report, from its Code of Conduct Committee, which details all the complaints that have been received about advertising and other promotional activities.

Considering all the advertising and the thousands of educational events sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry, complaints are uncommon. Of the 24 complaints considered in 2010–11, 14 were found in breach of the code. Only four of these breaches were identified from complaints made by health professionals. One of these resulted in a fine of $200 000 after a company offered funding to an area health service contingent on the number of patients treated with its products. Table 1 shows the complaints where at least one breach was identified, and more details can be found in the full report.2

Table 1 Breaches of the Code of Conduct July 2010 – June 2011