Dáil Éireann - Volume 437 - 16 December, 1993

Written Answers. - Advertising and Promotion of Medicines.

28. Dr. Upton asked the Minister for Health the plans, if any, he has to introduce legislation to control the use of cash and hospitality to doctors by drug companies [1046] as a way of promoting their products.

Minister for Health (Mr. Howlin): In March of this year I made regulations concerning the advertising and promotion of medicines to health professionals and the general public. These regulations give effect to the 1992 EC Directive on the advertising of medicinal products for human use. The regulations contain criteria regarding the offering of gifts or other benefits to health professionals which specify that such gifts must be inexpensive and relevant to the practice of medicine or pharmacy. The area of hospitality is also covered and the regulations specify that this must be reasonable in level. Provisions to deal with breaches of the regulations are also included.

My Department is currently in discussion with the Federation of Irish Chemical Industries on the framing of a code of practice for the purpose of providing practical guidance with respect to the requirements of the regulations. I am satisfied that these measures will deal with any abuses in this area and I can assure the Deputy that I will keep the operation of these regulations under review.