The Department of Pharmaceuticals issued the Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024 on March 13, 2024, with the objective to enhance ethical conduct and bring more transparency to the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies.

Key Features of the Code

Attributes Brief Description


Restrictions on Marketing and Promotion of Drugs Drug advertising must adhere to the conditions of marketing approval, and assertions about a medicine’s efficacy must be supported by the most recent analysis of all available data. Additionally, promotional material must conform, both in text and illustration, to canons of good taste and not be likely to cause offence.


Conditions for Claims and Comparisons of Drugs


The word ‘safe’ must not be used without qualification, and it must not be stated categorically that a medicine has no side effects, toxic hazards, or risk of addiction. Also, the word ‘new’ must not be used to describe any drug which has been available or any therapeutic intervention which has been promoted in India for more than a year.


Restriction on Free Samples


Only licenced medical practitioners with the authority to write prescriptions for the drug may receive free samples and every sample ought to include a label that reads “free medical sample not for sale” or something similar.


Continuing Medical Education


The pharmaceutical sector should only engage with qualified healthcare professionals for Continuing Medical Education (CME), Continuing Professional Development (CPD) based on clear, transparent, and verifiable rules.


Aid for Research


The Union government has allowed firms to provide research grants for healthcare professionals, provided these are done in a transparent manner.


Prohibition on Gifts/ Additional Facilities to Healthcare Professionals


The code prohibits pharmaceutical companies, agents, distributors, wholesalers, or retailers from offering or providing gifts that benefit healthcare professionals or their family members personally. It also limits providing travel and vacation benefits to healthcare professionals or their families unless the individual is a speaker at an event.





Execution of UCPMP

  • UCPMP mandates that all pharmaceutical associations must establish an Ethics Committees for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (ECPMP).
  • The pharmaceutical associations shall set up a resolute UCPMP portal on their website, along with the detailed procedure for lodging of complaints and take further necessary steps for the code’s implementation.
  • All pharma associations will share on their website the details of complaints received i.e., the nature of complaint, the company against whom the complaint has been made, the present status of the complaint, including action taken by the ECPMP, and such details should remain uploaded for five years.

Penalties for Violation of the Code

Suspension or expulsion of the entity from the Association.


Reprimand the entity and publish full details of such reprimand
Require the entity to issue a corrective statement in the same.


Ask the entity to recover money or items, given in violation of the Code, from the concerned person.


In cases where disciplinary, penal, or remedial action lies within the domain of any agency or authority of the Government in accordance with the statute, the Committee may send its recommendations to such agency or authority through the Department of Pharmaceuticals.



The Way Ahead with UCPMP 2024

UCPMP aims to foster a transparent environment, eliminating any influence from industry incentives. It will also allow enhanced patient safety by providing accurate information about medications empowers patients to make informed choices about their healthcare and promoting fair competition, ensuring competition focuses on innovation and quality of drugs and does not compromise on the same.

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