Code of Practice

The purpose of the Medicines New Zealand Code of Practice is to define and ensure high standards for the ethical and responsible promotion of prescription medicines in New Zealand, and wherever possible to exceed those required by law.

The pharmaceutical industry promotes the concept of good health and a positive, health-oriented approach to daily living. Recognising that prescription medicines and vaccines play a vital role in the prevention, amelioration and treatment of disease states, the industry undertakes:

  • to provide prescription medicines for human use that conform to the highest standards of safety, efficacy and quality;
  • to ensure that medicines are supported by comprehensive technical and informational services in accordance with currently accepted medical and scientific knowledge and experience; and
  • to be ethical and professional in all interactions with healthcare professionals, public health officials and the general public.

The Medicines New Zealand Code of Practice (Code) represents an act of self-regulation. The Code sets out standards of conduct for the activities of companies when engaged in the marketing of prescription medicines used under medical supervision as permitted by New Zealand legislation.

Acceptance and observance of the Code is a condition of membership of Medicines New Zealand. In accepting and observing the Code, companies must comply with both the letter and spirit of the Code. Pharmaceutical companies that are not members of Medicines New Zealand are invited to accept and observe this Code and must comply with its provisions when required by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Download your copy of the 16th Edition of the Code of Practice.

Clarification of Section 5.11.8 on DTCA

Medicines New Zealand has received a number of queries with regard to the Code of Practice 16th Edition concerning interpretation of section 5.11.8 on direct product comparisons in DTCA.

The clause must be read and applied in its entirety. Direct product comparisons are prohibited where it would be considered to be encouraging consumers to make a choice between medicines which may cause consumer confusion, and when it may undermine the prescriber and patient relationship. In other instances direct product comparisons may be considered.

Consideration must be given to other relevant sections in the Code of Practice; legislation; and the Therapeutic Products Advertising Code with respect to DTCA.

Code of Practice Complaints Process

In order to maintain the rigour of the Code of Practice, a complaints process is open to anyone who feels there has been a breach. See below for details on the process.

For further queries on the complaints procedure, contact us.

cop complaints process 2Summary of Findings of Code of Practice Appeal Committee Findings under the Code of Practice

Summary of findings of Code of Practice Standing Committee findings - Complaint #138 under the Code of Practice (v.14)

Summary of findings of Code of Practice Standing Committee findings - Complaint #139 under the Code of Practice (v.15)

Summary of findings of Code of Practice Standing Committee findings - Complaint #140 under the Code of Practice (v.15)

Summary of findings of Code of Practice Appeal Committee findings-Complaint #141 under the Code of Practice (v.15)

Summary of findings of Code of Practice Standing Committee findings-Complaint #142 under the Code of Practice (v.15)