Abbott’s Code of Business Conduct, our basic guidelines and requirements for ethical behavior, is available in 36 languages. All Abbott employees, including sales representatives, are trained to abide by the high standards outlined in the Code.
Abbott has policies and procedures in place that guide employees as they conduct their day-to-day activities. These policies and procedures encompass relevant laws and regulations, including food and drug laws and laws relating to government health care programs.
They also take into account industry best practices, including provisions of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA) Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices, the updated Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Code on Interactions with Healthcare Professionals and the updated Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) Code of Ethics on Interactions with Health Care Professionals, as well as other applicable industry codes. We regularly update our policies to incorporate changes to the law and industry codes, including rules regarding gifts, meals and education we provide to health care professionals.
A growing number of state laws in the United States require greater transparency in the relationships between our industry and individuals and entities involved in providing health care. These laws impose various combinations of code of conduct restrictions on activities involving health care professionals and health care organizations and tracking and reporting of payments and transfers of value (such as meals) provided.
Abbott complies with all such laws, which currently exist in California, the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, Nevada, Vermont and West Virginia. Abbott is also preparing to comply with the federal Sunshine Act, for which tracking will begin August 1, 2013.
An important part of our commitment to supporting patients and consumers is an obligation to communicate responsibly with them and their health care professionals about our products and the alternatives that exist. As a leading manufacturer of infant formulas, Abbott agrees with medical and health organizations throughout the world that breastfeeding is the best form of infant nutrition and should be the first choice for babies.
When an alternative to breastfeeding is necessary or chosen, we offer high-quality infant formulas and nutrition products. We comply with all relevant laws, regulations and promotional standards around the world. This includes adhering to principles of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes where it has been implemented by governments. These principles cover appropriate labeling and promotion of breast milk substitutes. We conduct audits of our marketing and sales practices in each market where our infant formula is sold to ensure compliance with these provisions.