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Pharma lobby bans gifting of medics

Kenyatta National Hospital
Kenyatta National Hospital. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Drug makers that are members of the Kenya Association of Pharmaceutical Industry (Kapi) will not be allowed to give gifts or other forms of inducement to health practitioners in a bid to stem cases where medics only prescribe or dispense medicines from certain manufacturers.

This follows Kapi’s revision of its code of practice as the industry’s umbrella body moves to restrict firms from influencing doctors, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals.

The code prohibits manufacturers from offering cash or benefit in kind for the promotion of prescription-only medicines.

“We believe this will go a long way to improve the quality of health service delivery in the country, as well as strengthening health systems in the country,” said Kapi chairperson Anastasia Nyalita.

“The code stipulates that any sponsorship provided to healthcare professionals must not be conditional upon an obligation to prescribe, recommend, purchase, supply, administer or promote any pharmaceutical product.”

The new rules also include requirements that manufacturers furnish patients and the public with full information about their medicines.

Kapi first rolled out the Code of practice in 2016 which is a self-regulation tool for its members comprising local and multinational firms.

Kapi’s member firms include Kenya-based pharmaceutical Surgipharm, the UK’s GlaxoSmithKline, Swiss multinational Novartis, Germany’s HighChem Group and US corporation Pfizer.

The revised code was announced at an investors forum attended by healthcare representatives from private and public hospitals and medical associations.

A recent study published by the University of Nairobi revealed that about 50 percent of prescriptions at Kenyatta National Hospital was by brand names and not drug chemical composition.

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