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Interactions with health systems

We support health systems by collaborating with our healthcare stakeholders, such as professional medical associations, patient and carer organizations, university clinics and other institutions that provide healthcare. We follow clearly defined internal approval requirements and procedures for each type of interaction, in line with applicable laws and codes. In countries with statutory or industry obligations on the disclosure of transfers of value to healthcare stakeholders, we aim to comply with these obligations.

In some countries we inform consumers directly. For example, in the United States direct-to-consumer (DTC) advertising for prescription medicines is permitted. In line with applicable local laws, we use DTC advertising in these countries to help increase people’s awareness of certain diseases and the available therapies.

Roles and responsibilities

For all interactions with healthcare stakeholders, we have established internal policies and review processes and tools, such as record-keeping systems. Thereby, we want to ensure adherence to statutory requirements and transparency obligations.

Our Global Regulatory Affairs unit has established a dedicated standard and corresponding process document on the review and approval of our promotional materials for our Healthcare business sector. At the operational level, the relevant business and all employees involved in our sales and marketing activities must adhere to our internal policies, standards and procedures. To ensure that all promotional materials meet our standards as well as local regulations end-to-end, we apply a harmonized Group-wide review and approval system.

Our commitment: Group-wide guidelines and industry standards

In addition to applicable laws and our own internal standards, we also strive to comply with the codes of conduct of various international industry organizations, such as the Code of Practice published by the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) and the Code of Practice of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) or the regulations of the U.S. Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA).

Moreover, we apply various specific internal rules and regulations:

  • Pharma Code for Conducting Pharmaceutical Business and Pharmaceutical Operations (Pharma Code)
  • Healthcare Ethical Guiding Principles
  • Standard on Medical Activities

For the collaboration with patient organizations:

  • Policy on Interactions with Patients, Patient Opinion Leaders, and Patient Organizations
  • Guideline Good Practice and Process Guidance: Engagement with Patients, Patient Opinion Leaders, and Patient Organizations

Transparent reporting

We publish the financial and non-financial contributions we make to healthcare stakeholders in the healthcare industry, such as healthcare professionals and healthcare organizations, as appropriate and in accordance with local laws and codes. The published information includes the names of individual recipients, their addresses, the purpose, and the contributed amount or value as required by the applicable laws and codes. In addition, before publishing, we secure all necessary informed consent forms, as required by the applicable data privacy regulations.

Regular employee training

In 2023, we continued our Code of Conduct training curriculum on managing dilemmas in sector-specific situations. Moreover, employees who are responsible for the promotion of our pharmaceutical products receive regular training on current guidelines. Depending on their roles and responsibilities, new employees participate in onboarding training dealing with the review and approval of promotional materials. Based on their roles and responsibilities and in order to remain up-to-date, employees participate in mandatory e-learning courses and classroom training on our policies and guidelines as well as important changes to the reporting requirements for transfers of value.

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