The European Promotional Products Association (EPPA) and industry suppliers serving the European market are challenging a decision by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) to ban the use of promotional products by its members.
The EFPIA’s move, which goes into effect at the start of 2014, is part of an effort by the pharmaceutical industry in Europe to improve a reputation tarnished by aggressive marketing of medication found to be excessively expensive or scientifically unsound by the courts.
EPPA has filed an official complaint with the European Commissioner of Competition about the measures taken by EFPIA. It believes the move is in violation of anti-competition laws and claims that such a ban would affect the livelihoods of the promotional products distributors and suppliers.
In a statement, EPPA says, “As the umbrella association for the European promotional products industry, we are not happy with this decision and feel confident that a ball pen or sticky note with a company name and/or logo on it will have any impact in the decision making process when health care providers need to prescribe a medicine. We have received numerous messages from concerned associations and promotional product companies from all over Europe, who are also astounded by this decision. We calculated that these measures will have a negative effect on the European industry’s turnover of approximately 8-10 percent, amounting to an estimated € 500m a year. Not that much if you take into account that the pharmaceutical industry is charging billions of euros to EU countries each year in medicines sales.”