Adoption of an updated Code of Medical Ethics for Physicians with a new set of rules for collaborating with the pharmaceutical industry

24 May 2024

On 18 May 2024, the Extraordinary XVI National Congress of Physicians adopted a new Code of Medical Ethics. The provisions of the Code set out the principles of ethics and govern the practice of the profession of a physician and include, among others, rules for the cooperation of physicians with the pharmaceutical industry, in particular with manufacturers of medicinal products and medical devices.

The new wording of the Code provides for:

  • a prohibition on the acceptance of benefits by a physician from representatives of the medical industry if such might impair the objectivity of his or her professional opinions or undermine confidence in the profession of a physician;
  • an obligation to set remuneration for the work performed, for any training given and for research conducted, in a manner commensurate with the service provided;
  • a duty on the part of a physician collaborating with the [pharmaceutical and medical] industry to make clinical decisions based on up-to-date medical knowledge and to act in the best interests of patients and research subjects;
  • an obligation to disclose to lecture audiences and editors of publications any relationship with the manufacturers of medicines or medical devices, any subsidies received from them and any other benefits that may give rise to a conflict of interest;
  • an obligation to verify whether any research sponsored by the manufacturers of medicines or medical devices in which the physician is to participate is being conducted in accordance with the principles of research ethics;
  • a prohibition on participating in scientific research which has the sole purpose of promoting products;
  • an obligation to disclose a physician’s relationship with a medicine or medical device manufacturer to patients who are to participate in a trial sponsored by that manufacturer;
  • a prohibition on accepting remuneration from drug or medical device manufacturers for merely referring a patient to a trial conducted or sponsored by a medicine or medical device manufacturer;
  • an obligation to prevent misrepresentation of the results of trials conducted on behalf of medicine or medical device manufacturers in which the physician has participated.

Furthermore, the changes also affected the rules on the use of a physician’s image for commercial purposes. The previous provision prohibiting the use of a physician’s name and image for commercial purposes has been replaced by a prohibition on using the physician’s authority to promote services unrelated to the medical profession, and this change is likely to have a major impact on the participation of physicians in promotional and advertising activities, not just within the pharmaceutical market.

Taking into account the introduced changes, it seems advisable to verify the internal rules of cooperation between physicians and the manufacturers of medicines and medical devices.

For the full text of the new Code of Medical Ethics for Physicians (Polish version) please follow this link.

Team members

Tomasz Kaczyński


Tomasz Kaczyński

Dr Paweł Kaźmierczyk

Senior Associate

Dr Paweł Kaźmierczyk

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