Kang Wei: Establishing Patient-Centered Code of Ethics for Pharmaceutical Industry


On October 10, 2019, Kang Wei, Managing Director of RDPAC, gave a speech on the theme of “Code of Ethics for Pharmaceutical Industry - a Shift from Consensus to Implementation”, at the invitation of the 11th China Healthcare Summit of Entrepreneurs, Scientists and Investors which was held at Beijing Yanqi Lake International Convention & Exhibition Center. This Summit was hosted by China Pharmaceutical Enterprises Association and China Medicinal Biotech Association. Nearly 3,000 professionals in the pharmaceutical industry including the leading pharmaceutical entrepreneurs, scientists, investors and the leaders from relevant national ministries and commissions attended the Summit and had in-depth interchanges and discussions on the hot topics currently in the pharmaceutical industry.

“The pharmaceutical industry in China is now in a critical period of transformation and upgrading. Encouraging innovation, regulating behaviors in pharmaceutical industry and improving quality have become the central theme of the industry development. A culture of compliance has also become the cornerstone of healthy and sustainable development of the pharmaceutical industry with the stronger regulation that the government has continuously imposed on this industry as well as the intensified social co-governance”, said King Wei, “On July 6, 2018, the Chinese Consensus Framework for the Ethical Collaboration in the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Sectors (the “Framework”) was entered into by 25 industry associations and medical professional associations including China Pharmaceutical Industry Association, China Chamber of Commerce for Import & Export of Medicines & Health Products, China Pharmaceutical Innovation and Research Development Association and RDPAC, which demonstrated our confidence and determination to voluntarily abide by the code of ethics. The Regulation for Compliance of Pharmaceutical Industry as one of significant actions to implement the Framework and jointly formulated by China Pharmaceutical Industry Association, RDPAC, China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine, China Biochemical Pharmaceutical Industry Association, China Association for Vaccines and Biological Products, China Association for Medical Devices Industry, will be published in December this year. The Regulation is the first association standard in China for the compliance management of the pharmaceutical industry, the issuance of which indicates that the compliance construction of this industry in China has entered the stage of implementation from the stage of consensus.”

The first international code of practice for the pharmaceutical industry was drafted by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) in 1981, while RDPAC, as the first industry association in China which attached importance to the code of practice for industry compliance, issued the first RDPAC Code of Practice (the “RDPAC Code”) in 1999. The core of the RDPAC Code was, initially, to deliver accurate information on the efficacy and side effects of drugs. Today, the rules for compliance have been more comprehensive by regular updates. With multiple revisions and amendments made to the RDPAC Code over the past 20 years, it has developed a rule-based compliance framework for clinical researches, service fees, and support of continuing medical education. The most significant change made in the RDPAC Code 2019, same as the new IFPMA code, is that “rule-based” has turned to “integrity-based value”– what matters the most is to earn the TRUST of patients.

The Code of Practice for Medical Representatives, co-developed by RDPAC and led by China Pharmaceutical Industry Association in 2018 based on the Framework, is also one of significant actions to implement the Framework, according to Kang Wei. A medical representative, who plays a role in the last segment of promotion in drug distribution, should strictly follow the code of business ethics. With the rise of innovative drugs in China, the industry requires better capabilities of medical representatives for professional and academic promotion. Besides the expertise in medicine and drugs that medical representatives should have, they should also deliver accurate information services of drugs in a speedy manner, and even be able to assist pharmacy experts as a professional helper. In addition, the responsibilities of medical representatives include observing the efficacy of drugs and tracking drugs’ adverse reactions, for the purpose of truly benefiting patients ultimately through the products.

“RDPAC member companies have long been attaching great importance to compliance construction and have earned wide reputations from patients and the industry in China’s pharmaceutical market. RDPAC believes that trust is the lifeline of the pharmaceutical industry. We must seize every opportunity to earn, retain and develop the trust and build patient-centered values and ethical principles of the pharmaceutical industry, which is vital to the industry development.”, according to Kang Wei.

As a non-profit organization, RDPAC consists of 42 multinational pharmaceutical companies with R&D capabilities. Led by the concept of “Innovation Leads the Healthy China”, RDPAC member companies share a common aspiration with Chinese government and local companies to make China a powerful nation in drug innovation and pharmaceutical industry. RDPAC member companies have established 49 manufacturing facilities and 31 R&D centers in China so far, and have introduced at least 103 innovative drugs to China market over the past two and a half years (2017-the first half of 2019), accounting for 80% of all innovative drugs marketed in China in the same period.

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