and Business Integrity

IFPMA Code of Practice (2019)

IFPMA Code of Practice (2019)

Our industry is unlike any other – our products can prolong and save lives. We therefore hold ourselves to higher ethical standards than other industries. We owe it to the patients who rely on our medicines and vaccines.

The healthcare community and the public must be confident that our employees, wherever they operate, communicate and act in an ethical manner. Therefore, IFPMA’s role is to provide a beacon for the whole sector and to work to uphold ethical standards.

Trust is the basis of reputation and essential for innovation. There is no true innovation without ethical decision making.

Our members are responsible for the discovery of most new medicines and vaccines. They develop, promote, sell and distribute these in an ethical manner and in accordance with all the rules and regulations for medicines and healthcare.

In doing so, they provide the healthcare community with the latest scientific and educational information to improve understanding of treatment options available to patients and support high-quality patient care. These interactions are governed by the IFPMA Code of Practice.

Our Code of Practice was first drawn up in 1981, and it was the first one of its kind for any sector. The Code is a living document and has been revised five times over recent decades, ensuring that practices in the pharmaceutical industry are governed by ethical standards in line with societal expectations.

The last Code revision in 2012 saw its scope expanded beyond marketing practices to cover all interactions with healthcare professionals, medical institutions and patient organizations.

With the IFPMA Code of Practice 2019, we are setting the bar higher. The 2019 Code is marked by two important changes.

  • First, several sections have been updated, including the introduction of a ban on gifts and promotional aids (for Rx based medicines).
  • Second, and more fundamental, we have developed an IFPMA Ethos. This change aims to shift from a rules-based to a values-based Code.

The IFPMA Code of Practice came into effect on 1st January 2019.


Find the Codes of Practice of IFPMA Member Associations here


IFPMA First Code of Practice


The IFPMA Code of Practice has been revised 6 times

1 January 2019

New IFPMA Code of Practice comes into force

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