EU – After it was announced that the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) is pushing all of its members to completely do away with promotional products in the framework of the transparent codex it has drawn up, this intention is currently being discussed at different levels by the representatives of the pharmaceutical industry and the European promotional products industry. The EFPIA wants all of its affiliated pharmaceutical companies to completely do away with the implementation of promotional products – up until now promotional products with a value of up to five Euros are permitted.
It is reported that it has already been pointed out to the pharmaceutical firms affiliated to the EFPIA that next year give-away items are no longer permitted as advertising material. It will be possible to distribute remaining stocks up until June 30, 2014. However, the proposal still has to be formally approved at the general meeting of the EFPIA on June 24 and 25, 2013 and subsequently integrated into the respective national codes of the national member organisations by the end of the year. Whereby it is becoming apparent that the national associations are planning to deal with the intended axing of promotional products differently. For example the German member of the EFPIA, the VFA (Association of Researching Pharmaceutical Manufacturers e. V.), is allegedly in favour of a complete axing of promotional products, whereas other national representatives intend to allow their members a certain leeway regarding the implementation of promotional products. Most of the big pharmaceutical companies are members of the VFA, however there are other pharmaceutical associations in Germany that do not belong to the EFPIA and which have no intentions whatsoever to stop the use of promotional products as yet.
There is no uniform opinion from the pharmaceutical industry itself so far. Whereas some of the “biggies” have announced that they will carry on implementing promotional products, others have cancelled their current orders with promotional products distributors and suppliers for the time being.
The European promotional products umbrella association EPPA has since joined the discussion. According to EPPA, there is above all a lack of transparency regarding promotional products, because there is no uniform, precisely defined value limit. They noted that a complete ban would only lead to a shift in the marketing budget and thus also to increased price pressure, but that this would certainly not lead to greater transparency. Hence, EPPA wants to convince the EFPIA to define a binding value limit for all affiliated national associations, and EPPA has approached both the member organisations and the EFPIA CEO, Richard Bergström, in this connection. One was confident that a meeting with Bergström would take place before the annual general meeting on June 24 and 25, the EPPA President, Hans Poulis, commented.