The Authority has received examples of pharmaceutical representative visit request forms issued by various medicines management teams. The purpose of such forms is for the representatives to provide the teams with a brief outline of what they want to talk to them about. Although the precise detail of the forms differs slightly, the information typically requested consists of the representative’s name, contact details etc, name of the medicine, its indication and the reason for the visit. The medicines management teams use the information provided to decide whether they want to see the representative; if they do they can then make the most of the appointment by knowing in advance what topics are to be discussed. The Authority accepts that the forms may be a valuable tool to help medicines management teams make the best use of their resources but is concerned that, in complying with a request to complete one of the forms, representatives are unwittingly creating a piece of promotional material which is unlikely to comply with the Code.
The aim of the Code is to ensure that the promotion of medicines to health professionals or other relevant decision makers is carried out within a robust framework to support high quality patient care. No promotional material should be issued unless its final form, to which no subsequent amendments will be made, has been certified on behalf of the company. Given the logistical problems in separately certifying pharmaceutical representative visit request forms from every medicines management team to ensure that the completed forms comply with the Code, the Authority suggests that companies consider pre-approving material which will provide the medicines management teams with the brief overview that they need and ensure that the representatives do not create their own pieces of promotional material. It would be helpful if, on such material, it is explained to the medicines management teams why their forms cannot be completed by the representative.