Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (UCPMP) 2024

Posted On - 5 April, 2024 • By - King Stubb & Kasiva


On 12th March, 2024 the Department of Pharmaceuticals (DoP) put forward a notification bringing out a policy communication to all pharmaceutical companies and associations which stated the new Uniform Code for Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices 2024 also referred to as UCPMP – 2024.

The UCPMP covers a wide range of critically important areas such as medical representatives and their conduct, providing free samples and role of brand ambassadors and relationships of companies with the healthcare personnel. The Code has permitted the brands to issue educational and informational items and samples which shall, however, be subject to certain terms and conditions but has certainly prohibited continuing medical education (CME) and continuing professional development (CPD) conferences, workshops and other events at foreign locations. Moreover, the communications between pharmaceutical companies and healthcare professionals under the code have also been restricted only to educational purposes.  

Additionally, the Code has also mandated that pharmaceutical companies keep a record of all the details pertaining to product names, names of healthcare professionals/doctors, amount/quantity of samples provided and the date of distribution of commodities to the healthcare professionals. A monetary value cap of 2% of the company’s domestic sales has also been placed on the distributed samples. Moreover, the giver and receiver of the brand reminders or promotional goods such as brand reminders or samples should comply with the relevant provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1961 in terms of reporting of income and specific deductions.

The code has also addressed the communications between various pharmaceutical companies and their agents and imposed specific restrictions and prohibitions in terms of supplying any promotional items, gifts or other benefits to the Healthcare Professionals and their immediate or extended family members. Moreover, making any offers, promises or supplies of monetary or non-monetary advantages is also prohibited under any pretext. There are various other miscellaneous directives, aimed to fulfil the above objectives such as affixing the responsibility upon the Chief Executive Officers of the pharmaceutical companies to ensure compliance with the Code and its rules and submit a declaratory statement at the end of every financial year stating that the compliances have been fulfilled.

The Code has also introduced an appellate mechanism that has allowed the parties to file appeals with the top – most committee known as “Apex Committee for Pharma Marketing Practices” in case there are any disagreements or disputes. The committee also has the jurisdiction to impose penalties or make reference to governmental agencies and authorities, which shall be binding and final upon the parties.


The present Code of 2024 is an upgrade from a decade old 2014 code which has made modifications that were required due to the influx of time. Additionally, various new topics have also been included under the purview of the new code which have addressed novel crucial topics for concern among the industry. However, further clarity may be required regarding interplay of various other regulations and the code for various stakeholders.