One change involves prohibiting drug companies from distributing noneducational items to healthcare providers.
The Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America has issued a voluntary code of conduct that it hopes its members will follow. To be implemented in January 2009, the code sets up more restrictions on drug companies' promotional activities than required by a previous PhRMA code. Some of the changes involve prohibiting drug companies from distributing noneducational items, such as pens, mugs, etc. to healthcare providers. Also verboten is treating health professionals to restaurant meals, although providing occasional meals in their offices in conjunction with informational presentations is acceptable. PhRMA said it will post on its Web site the names of companies that pledge to follow the code.