4. These criteria constitute general principles for ethical standards which could be adapted by governments to national circumstances as appropriate to their political, economic, cultural, social, educational, scientific and technical situation, laws and regulations, disease profile, therapeutic traditions and the level of development of their health system. They apply to prescription and non-prescription medicinal drugs (“over-the-counter drugs”). They also apply generally to traditional medicines as appropriate, and to any other product promoted as a medicine. The criteria could be used by people in all walks of life; by governments; the pharmaceutical industry (manufacturers and distributors); the promotion industry (advertising agencies, market research organizations and the like); health personnel involved in the prescription, dispensing, supply and distribution of drugs; universities and other teaching institutions; professional associations; patients’ and consumer groups; and the professional and general media (including; publishers and editors of medical journals and related publications). All these are encouraged to use the criteria as appropriate to their spheres of competence, activity and responsibility. They are also encouraged to take the criteria into account in developing their own sets of ethical standards in their own field relating to medicinal drug promotion.
5. The criteria do not constitute legal obligations; governments may adopt legislation or other measures based on them as they deem fit. Similarly, other groups may adopt self-regulatory measures based on them. All these bodies should monitor and enforce their standards.