Medicines Australia (formerly the Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association) has a code of conduct to guide the promotion of prescription drugs in Australia.12 The annual report of the Code of Conduct Committee for 2004 is now available on the Medicines Australia web site.3 Since the previous summary in Australian Prescriber4 the Code of Conduct Committee has resolved 17 complaints. In nine cases there was at least one breach of the Code (Table 1).
Only three complaints were made by healthcare professionals. Most of the complaints were made by companies about their rivals' promotional materials. These promotional materials have to be withdrawn if they are in breach of the Code, however by the time a complaint is resolved the advertising campaigns may have concluded.
There seems to be a growing concern about the promotion of prescription medicines to the general public. Several complaints involved the connection between companies' products and the information on web sites about related topics. There was also a complaint about a television advertisement, but this was not upheld. More details about the complaints can be found in the annual report.3
- Roughead EE. The Australian Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association Code of Conduct: guiding the promotion of prescription medicines. Aust Prescr 1999;22:78-80.
- Medicines Australia. Code of Conduct. 14th ed. Canberra: Medicines Australia; 2003.
- Medicines Australia. Code of Conduct Annual Report 2004. Canberra: Medicines Australia; 2004. http://www.medicinesaustralia.com.au [cited 2004 Nov 8]
- Medicines Australia Code of Conduct: breaches. Aust Prescr 2004;27:60.