Constitution and Procedure

The Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry is administered by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority. The Authority is responsible for the provision of advice, guidance and training on the Code as well as for the complaints procedure. It is also responsible for arranging for conciliation between companies when requested to do so and for arranging for the scrutiny of advertising and meetings on a regular basis.

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The Constitution and Procedure of the PMCPA outlines:

  • The Structure and Responsibilities of the PMCPA, Code of Practice Panel, and Code of Practice Appeal Board
  • The Complaints Procedure, how complaints are handled from start to finish
  • General Provisions, including time periods for responding to matters, withdrawal of complaints, levy and charge, conciliation and scrutiny. 

The Authority is not an investigatory body as such. It asks the respondent company for a complete response and may ask the parties to a case for further information in order to clarify the issues. It is essentially an adversarial process in which the evidence to be taken into account comes from the complainant and the respondent company, though the Authority can seek evidence from third parties where necessary. A complainant has the burden of proving their complaint on the balance of probabilities.

The system is designed so that both parties can participate fully in the process. Although anonymous complaints are accepted, it is preferable if complainants from outside the industry provide a name, contact details and relevant information about their interests in the matter of complaint. The names of individuals complaining from outside the pharmaceutical industry are kept confidential. In exceptional cases it may be necessary for a company to know the identity of the complainant so that the matter can be properly investigated. Even in these instances, the name of the complainant is only disclosed with the complainant’s permission.

All complaints are judged on the evidence provided by the parties. The weight to be attached to any evidence may be adversely affected if the source is anonymous and thus in some instances it will not be possible for such a complaint to proceed.

Complaints made under the Code are considered by the Code of Practice Panel and, where required, by the Code of Practice Appeal Board. Reports on cases are published by the Authority and are available on request and on the Authority’s website here.

Complaints should be submitted via the form on our website, by email to or to the Director of the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority, 7th Floor, Southside, 105 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6QT, telephone 0207 747 8880.