Marketing with Integrity
Beyond adhering to pharmaceutical industry regulations and standards, Ferring is committed to fair competition as a matter of corporate conduct. We abide by all laws that apply to our marketing activities. Under these laws, it is illegal to use unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices in commerce.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- false or misleading advertising, or any other form of misrepresentation made in connection with sales
- bribery of competitors’ or customers’ employees;
- unfair comments about competitors’ products.
Promotional Activities and Interactions with Healthcare Professionals
Regulation of advertising and product promotion directly affects our customer relationships. All colleagues should understand the basic rules Ferring follows to ensure compliance with the laws and regulations regarding promotional activities and interactions with healthcare professionals.
Ferring’s policy is that all promotional materials and communications must be:
- accurate and not misleading;
- balanced, substantiated, and scientifically rigorous; and
- compliant with U.S. medical, legal, and regulatory standards.
Strict regulations govern our relationships with healthcare professionals, including our interactions with physicians, nurses, pharmacists, and others who administer, prescribe, purchase, or recommend prescription medicines. These interactions are not limited to promotional activities; our educational and commercial relationships with healthcare professionals are also strictly regulated.
All interactions with healthcare professionals should be guided by:
- Compliance Code for US-based employees of Ferring Pharmaceuticals, provided in orientation materials;
- Marketing & Sales policies;
- Field Guide on Healthcare Law Compliance;
- PhRMA Code on Interaction with healthcare professionals;
- Advamed Code on Interaction with healthcare professionals;
- Applicable national and regional industry association codes; and
- Applicable laws, regulations, and other industry standards.
Colleagues in sales, marketing, medical, and regulatory functions must also be familiar with Ferring policies and procedures on labeling, promotional programs, product samples, and other relevant policies and procedures.
Monitoring the Safety, Performance, and Quality of Our Products
At Ferring, patient safety is a key priority. Therefore, we must work diligently to understand the safety and tolerability of our products so that we can provide high-quality information regarding their relative risks and benefits to medical professionals, patients, and regulatory authorities.
Understanding a product’s safety profile, as well as its quality and performance characteristics, is essential. These components are extensively monitored during clinical studies. However, it is only after a product has been marketed and used in real-world conditions that its safety profile and performance characteristics become more completely known.
Product Experience Disclosure
Ferring’s robust medical governance process ensures vigilant maintenance of the benefit and risk profile of its products. It also ensures timely communication of all new product information to patients, healthcare professionals, and regulators. Worldwide these stakeholders are fully informed of the uses, safety, contraindications, and side effects of our products and where appropriate, their operational requirements and characteristics. We provide this information using: package inserts;
- mailings to physicians and other healthcare professionals;
- educational and/or promotional materials;
- presentations by our field representatives;
- disclosure of clinical trial results; and
- disclosure of regulatory post-marketing commitments and their status.
The information provided must be consistent with the worldwide body of scientific knowledge pertaining to the relevant products. It must also comply with requirements of Good Clinical Practice and government regulation.
Certain research and business activities may involve the review of patient medical records or the collection of personal medical information. Patient information must be kept strictly confidential, and must only be used or disclosed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations or with the patient’s consent. All employees, contractors and companies working with Ferring must protect and ensure the privacy and security of the health information entrusted to us by patients, consumers, and others.
Communicating Honesty: It is in Everyone’s Best Interest
Integrity is a significant part of our business. Medical professionals trust our research and results. Consumers trust the quality of our products. That is why honest communication about product experience is absolutely essential.
Bribery and Corruption
Ferring has a longstanding corporate policy that prohibits employees or anyone acting on our behalf from providing any payment or benefit to any person or entity in order to improperly influence a government official or to gain an unfair business advantage.
In the U.S., business laws forbid making, offering, or promising any payment or anything of value (directly or indirectly) to a government official when the payment is intended to influence an official act or decision to award or retain business. In our business, we must be particularly sensitive to bribery and corruption issues because governments are often both the regulator of our products and a major customer. We also use the services of healthcare professionals and scientists, many of whom are employees of public institutions and may be considered government officials. For this reason no employee should ever make a payment or provide a benefit that is intended to improperly influence or even appears to improperly influence a government official’s actions.
Ferring also prohibits “commercial bribery,” which is illegal in many countries. Commercial bribery is giving something of value to an intermediary (e.g., an employee of a customer) without his or her supervisor’s knowledge, with the intent to influence the supervisor’s commercial conduct. Ferring prohibits any employee, consultant, middleman, or other agent from directly or indirectly engaging in commercial bribery.
Trade association meetings and other industry gatherings serve legitimate and worthwhile purposes. However, these meetings pose certain risks, as they bring together competitors who might discuss matters of mutual concern and potentially cross the line of non-compliance with competition law obligations. Even joking about inappropriate topics, such as marketing or pricing strategies, could be misinterpreted and misreported. If the conversation turns to any kind of anti-competitive discussion, you should refuse to discuss the matter and leave the conversation immediately.
The Anti-Kickback Law
U.S. Antitrust Laws
The U.S. Antitrust laws are designed to protect competition and the free market. Ferring supports the antitrust laws as a cornerstone of competition. There are severe civil and criminal penalties for violations of the antitrust laws. Ferring employees must comply with the antitrust laws. If an employee has any questions regarding the U.S. antitrust laws, the employee should seek guidance from U.S. counsel.
It is unlawful for competitors to agree on market allocation, prices, discounts, rebates or other terms and conditions of sale of competing products. The agreement does not need to be in writing or even be explicit to be in violation. Antitrust violations have been found based on evidence that representatives of competing companies were present at a meeting where pricing was discussed, and they subsequently adjusted their prices to be substantially the same. No Ferring employee may have discussions with employees of a competitor on any topic without first clearing the discussion with the U.S. Counsel and obtaining antitrust guidance.
Resale Price Maintenance
Some restrictions on which our customers may sell products to their customers may be unlawful. All contracts with customers must be approved by the U.S. Counsel.
It is unlawful to take any action that has the effect of foreclosing the market to any competitor. Actions that have been found to be in violation include pricing below cost and exclusive dealing or tying arrangements. All agreements with customers and all pricing regimens must be approved by the U.S. Counsel.
It is unlawful to give one customer in a given class of trade (e.g., wholesalers) a discount that is not available to other customers in the same class of trade. All agreements with customers and all pricing regimens must be approved by the U.S. Counsel.
Important Contact Information
ATTN: Compliance Office
100 Interpace Parkway
Parsippany, NJ 07054