Published: 2016-12-28

Understanding the degree of awareness among medical professionals regarding the ethics of pharmaceutical marketing activities in context of revised medical council of India code of ethics

Renuka H. Munshi, Kanchan R. Singh, Astha D. Thakkar


Background: Pharmaceutical marketing activities are regarded as ethically challenging by most medical professionals. This study was planned to understand the extent of the interaction of pharmaceutical companies with healthcare providers & to determine the level of awareness about the ‘Medical Council of India (MCI) Code of Ethics’.

Methods: A questionnaire based survey was conducted among 100 consultants and residents. The questionnaire mainly dealt with ethical issues about accepting free gifts, medicines and other sponsorships from pharmaceutical representatives, interactions and expectations from representatives of pharmaceutical companies by doctors and ascertaining among them the level of awareness about the MCI’s code of ethics.

Results: 59.4% residents and 58.8% consultants do not consider small gifts (stationery/books/drug samples) as ethically problematic. 88% residents and 85% consultants felt that offers should be limited. 72% of consultants were aware of the revised MCI code of ethics as compared to 28% of residents.

Conclusions: Most physicians do maintain a code of ethics with regards to accepting gifts and they felt that inexpensive gifts do not influence clinical judgment. Consultants were of the view that amended MCI code of ethics would not affect their clinical practice significantly.


Codes of ethics, Medical workforce, Pharmaceutical marketing, Gifts

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