Dr Anastasia Nyalita, KAPI chairperson.

The Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (KAPI) is rolling out of a stringent code of practice to foster ethical interactions between the local pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals.

The KAPI code of practice, which is a self-regulation tool for the association members, seeks to curb unethical practices in the pharmaceutical market place such as inducements to healthcare professionals in the private and public sector.

Speaking at a Healthcare Professionals Symposium organized by the association, KAPI Chairperson Dr Anastasia Nyalita said the new code of practice is geared at enhancing public trust.

The code, which incorporates principles and advice from similar guidelines in the pharmaceutical industry worldwide, provides punitive penalties for the association members who will fail to adhere to its guidelines.

As part of the Code of Practice enforcement, Pharmaceutical companies have now been banned from providing financial or related inducements to healthcare professionals in an attempt to influence their patient prescriptions.

“All our members are now bound by the Code of Practice, which restricts them from corrupting doctors or any other healthcare professionals prescribing practices,” Dr Nyalita said. “No financial benefit or benefit in kind may be provided or offered to a healthcare professional as an inducement for prescribing, recommending, purchasing, supplying or administering products or for a commitment to continue to do so.”

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Kenya Medical Association (KMA) National Chairperson Dr Jacqueline Kitulu said: “They (KAPI) have awakened the rest of the industry, and it is now on the Medical professional associations to self-evaluate and establish their code of conduct as regards their interaction with pharma industry.

“In the future then we could work towards a unified code of conduct that regulates the pharma industry and professional medical associations. This is a brilliant start and we will support their endeavors,” Dr. Kitulu said.

As part of the KAPI Code of Practice, pharmaceutical firms in Kenya have committed to refrain from offering or giving a gift, providing hospitality, benefits in kind, rebates, discounts, kickbacks or free samples to Health Care Professional (HCP) or government officials in exchange for preferential treatment.

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Patient Health Related gifts may however be offered to HCPs but must be gift items that will specifically be used for aiding in the treatment of patients (e.g. anatomical models, stethoscopes, medical textbooks / journals / magazines). These items may be given, provided that such items are beneficial to the provision of medical services and for patient care.

The KAPI code is a collection of principles derived from; The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) Code of Practice, 2012, European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Association ,South Africa Code of marketing practice,  The guidelines for advertisement and Promotion of medicines in Kenya April 2012 (Kenya Pharmacy and Poisons board), The Code of Promotional Practices for Pharmaceutical Representatives in Kenya as well as promotional codes from Turkey and Irish Pharmaceutical Healthcare associations.

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