ROCKLAND, Mass., July 10 /PRNewswire/ -- EMD Serono, Inc. announced today that the company has adopted and will fully implement, the revised and strengthened PhRMA Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals. The revised voluntary Code, which builds on the prior 2002 version, was approved unanimously by the PhRMA Board of Directors and announced by PhRMA earlier today. The revised Code reaffirms that interactions between company representatives and healthcare professionals should be focused on informing healthcare professionals about the benefits and risks of medicines to help enhance patient care, providing scientific and educational information, and supporting medical research and takes effect in January 2009. The revised Code reinforces the commitment of America's leading pharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, including EMD Serono, to provide up-to-date, accurate information to healthcare providers about life-saving and life-enhancing medicines. The adoption of the revised Code reaffirms EMD Serono's pledge to focus interactions between company representatives and healthcare professionals on informing them of our products and advancing tomorrow's medicines. EMD Serono adopted the prior version of the Code in 2002 and actively worked with PhRMA on enhancements to the Code. EMD Serono fully supports the underlying purpose of the enhanced Code to ensure that interactions between industry and healthcare professionals meet the highest ethical standards and benefit patients. EMD Serono has implemented a comprehensive company-wide Compliance Program; introduction of the revised PhRMA code aligns with the company's commitment to best practices and ethics in serving the medical community and patients. "EMD Serono was an early contributor and adopter of the PhRMA code and we remain committed to ensuring patients and healthcare professionals have the information necessary to understand the scientific and medical benefits as well as risks of our products," says Fereydoun Firouz, CEO and President of EMD Serono, Inc. and member of the Executive Committee of the PhRMA Board of Directors. "We applaud PhRMA and its member companies for enhancing the Code. EMD Serono is committed to ensuring our sales representatives and other employees understand the Code and continue to focus on meeting the unmet medical needs of our patients." Among its changes, the new Code: -- Prohibits distribution of non-educational items (such as pens, mugs and other "reminder" objects with a company or product logo) -- Prohibits company sales representatives from providing restaurant meals to healthcare professionals, but permits occasional, modest meals in a physician's office or hospital in conjunction with representatives' informational presentations -- Reaffirms that companies cannot provide any entertainment to healthcare professionals -- Provides more detailed standards regarding pharmaceutical company support of continuing medical education (CME) -- Offers additional guidance for speaking and consulting arrangements with healthcare professionals, including disclosure requirements for healthcare providers who serve as speakers or consultants for a pharmaceutical company -- Requires companies to ensure their representatives are sufficiently trained about applicable laws, regulations and industry codes of practice -- including the revised Code -- and to take appropriate action if representatives fail to comply -- Provides that each company state its intentions to abide by the Code and that company CEOs and Compliance Officers certify each year that they have processes in place to comply EMD Serono remains the most knowledgeable about the medicines we discover and develop and we remain committed to informing healthcare professionals about the company's therapies and research programs. The ability to provide physicians with timely, accurate medical and scientific data regarding our medicines is of the utmost importance, to help ensure proper patient care. "As the team responsible for EMD Serono's compliance oversight we look forward to implementing the revised Code, continuing our strong compliance training programs for employees and are very pleased to have participated in the development of the new Code," said Robert Freeman, Chief Compliance Officer of EMD Serono, Inc. "It remains paramount to our organization that our interactions with healthcare professionals meet the highest ethical standards while delivering valuable information to healthcare professionals and patients." EMD Serono is one of a few biopharmaceutical companies with US headquarters in the state of Massachusetts that is a member of PhRMA. EMD Serono remains a leader in conducting ethical interactions with healthcare providers to ensure patients can obtain the products necessary to treat their illnesses appropriately. Additional information on the revised code can be seen at www.phrma.org About EMD Serono, Inc. EMD Serono, Inc., an affiliate of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, is a leader in the US biopharmaceutical arena, integrating cutting-edge science with unparalleled patient support systems to improve people's lives. The company has strong market positions in neurodegenerative diseases, with Rebif(R) (interferon beta-1a), as well as in endocrinology, with Saizen(R) (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection), Serostim(R) (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection) and Zorbtive(TM) (somatropin (rDNA origin) for injection). EMD Serono is a leader in fertility treatments, with Gonal-f(R) (follitropin alpha for injection), Luveris(R) (lutropin alfa for injection) and Ovidrel(R) Prefilled Syringe (choriogonadotropin alpha injection). With a clear focus on the patient and a leadership presence in the biopharmaceutical industry, EMD Serono's US footprint continues to grow, with more than 850 employees around the country and fully integrated commercial, clinical and research operations in the company's home state of Massachusetts. For more information, please visit www.emdserono.com About Merck KGaA Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of EUR 7.1 billion in 2007, a history that began in 1668, and a future shaped by 30,968 employees in 60 countries. Its success is characterized by innovations from entrepreneurial employees. Merck's operating activities come under the umbrella of Merck KGaA, in which the Merck family holds an approximately 70% interest and free shareholders own the remaining approximately 30%. In 1917 the U.S. subsidiary Merck & Co. was expropriated and has been an independent company ever since. For more information, please visit www.merckserono.net or www.merck.de
SOURCE EMD Serono, Inc.