CIOMS/WHO Meeting on Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion. Essential Drugs Monitor No. 017 (1994)
(1994; 1 page)


The 45th World Health Assembly recognized a lack of implementation and use of the Ethical Criteria for Medicinal Drug Promotion, and therefore proposed a meeting between the World Health Organization and the Council for Organizations of Medical Sciences (CIOMS) to consider new approaches. The recommendations from this meeting are summarized in this article. The tasks of the meeting were to examine the problems surrounding unethical drug promotion, consider how the problems vary by country, determine short and long term steps to be taken and forward the final report to the Director-General.

One common theme throughout all of the recommendations is the right to be informed. Despite varying interests, national drug regulatory agencies, health professionals, the pharmaceutical industry and consumer groups all agreed on this basic principle. Education and communication were addressed as two lacking areas in the implementation of the Criteria. The meeting emphasized the need for future health professionals to receive an education on critical appraisal skills during undergraduate years and higher level studies. The Ethical Criteria should be a component of all national drug policies, and the formation of national drug policy committees should include participants from both the public and private sectors. International cooperation is also integral in the promotion of rational drug use, and organizations like the International Pharmaceutical Manufacturer’s Association (IFPMA) and the World Federation of Proprietary Medicine Manufacturers (WFPMM) should continue to develop their own strategies for drug promotion that are consistent with the Criteria. With the help of more organizations at the local, national, and international level and the cooperation of government and industry, the Criteria will be implemented on a larger scale. This will ultimately lead to the betterment in health of consumers worldwide.

Abstract written by M. Tobin, 2013.

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