The marketing plans of medicinal products in the Netherlands

  • After the advertising of medicinal products in Europe was harmonised by Council Directive 92/28/EEC in 1992, this Directive was implemented in the Netherlands inthe form of the Medicinal Products Advertising Decree in 1994.
    Obtaining an insight into the kinds of marketing activities and the associated expenditure by the pharmaceutical industry for medicinal products available on prescription only.

    Observations and conclusion
    The marketing plans provide an insight into the budgets and the priorities which the pharmaceutical industry applies to its marketing.
    If the marketing activities mentioned in this report are tested against the spirit of the Medicinal Products Advertising Decree (which is based on the provision in Council Directive 92/28/EEC that prescription practices may not be influenced by direct or indirect financial inducements), then it becomes apparent that the percentages of the marketing budgets taken up by the following activities are:

  • Phase IV study/seeding trials 20%
    Direct payments for congresses 18%
    Promotional meetings 11%

  • This is almost 50% of the amounts mentioned in the marketing plans.
    On the basis of the marketing plans it can be concluded that the Medicinal Products
    Advertising Decree is being infringed in respect of the offering of inducements and
    public advertising.
    In complying with the Medicinal Products Advertising Decree, the government is
    keen for self-regulation to play a role. The parties will therefore have the opportunity
    to put their own houses in order within the legal limits. The Inspectorate subscribes
    to this but observes that self-regulation has not yet resulted in widely-accepted
    codes of conduct that are actually being adhered to.
    Adequate monitoring by the government is still needed.


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