Code of Practice on the Promotion of Pharmaceutical Products(2006 Revision)
China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment R&D-Based Pharmaceutical Association Committee
As adopted by RDPAC Member companies on September 8, 2006
Effective on January 1, 2007
Signatories to Code of PharmaceuticalMarketing Practices, Year 2007
6拜耳先灵医药（Bayer Schering Pharma）
8施贵宝制药（Bristol Myers Squibb）
This is a milestone year for RDPAC in which activities related to the Code were conducted and a platform for the recognition of the value of professional Medical Representatives (MR) was built.
First, this is the third edition of our Code, building on the first edition (1999) and second edition (2002). While making the current revisions to our Code, we have closely followed the recently revised IFPMA Code and increased its transparency and limitations to ensure interactions with healthcare professionals are appropriate. The Code underpins the critical role of self discipline (self regulation) in contributing to the controls governing the promotion of medicines for healthcare professionals. Member companies have completed training on our new Code which supplements their own internal training and SOPs.
A second milestone is the completion and roll-out of our MR Certification Program. Similar to programs in the UK and Japan, this program includes not just training on the Code (ethics), but also training on the medical science (such as pharmacology, physiology and each major system in the body). Through a certification test, we will ensure that each MR possesses sufficient medical knowledge for professional interactions, thereby enabling healthcare professionals to receive the newest product information on drug use, including safety, combination with other products, indications, etc. with patients being the beneficiaries.
We have already undertaken several collaborative actions with healthcare and other regulatory agencies to highlight the importance of the Code and MRs. These actions support the healthy development of China_s healthcare system and transition to a more innovative and ethical society. We look forward to continuing to work together with all stakeholders.
The ethical promotion of prescription pharmaceutical products is vital to the pharmaceutical industry_s mission of helping patients by discovering, developing and marketing new pharmaceutical products. Ethical promotion helps to ensure that healthcare professionals have access to information they need, that patients have access to the pharmaceutical products they need and that pharmaceutical products are prescribed and used in a manner that provides the maximum healthcare benefit to patients.
The R&D-based Pharmaceutical Association Committee (RDPAC) under the China Association of Enterprises with Foreign Investment (CAEFI) obtained its registration with the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China in 2005. Today RDPAC has thirty eight (38) Members, all of whom are major multinational, researchbased pharmaceutical companies with substantial investment in China. RDPAC_s primary mission is to promote the technological and economic development of the pharmaceutical industry in China in order to bring innovative medicines to Chinese patients.
RDPAC and its Members are committed to educational and promotional efforts that benefit patients and promotional programs and collaborations that enhance the practice of medicine. RDPAC also seeks to preserve the independence of the decisions taken by healthcare professionals in prescribing pharmaceutical products to patients. The pharmaceutical industry has an obligation and responsibility to provide accurate information and education about its products to healthcare professionals in order to establish a clear understanding of the appropriate use of prescription pharmaceutical products. Industry relationships with healthcare professionals must support, and be consistent with, the professional responsibilities healthcare professionals have towards their patients. Pharmaceutical companies must maintain high ethical standards when conducting promotional activities and comply with applicable legal, regulatory and professional requirements.
The RDPAC Code of Practice on the Promotion of Pharmaceutical Products (the“RDPAC Code”or “this Code”) sets forth standards for the ethical promotion of pharmaceutical products to healthcare professionals, and for Member companies_ interactions with them, in accordance with relevant Chinese laws and regulations1. Through the promotion of this Code, RDPAC not only seeks to ensure its Members maintain high ethical promotional practices, but this Code can also serve as a reference for related stakeholders, including other pharmaceutical companies. Effective January 1, 2007, this Code replaces the FRPIA Code of Pharmaceutical Marketing Practices (2nd Edition, 2002).
RDPAC encourages competition among pharmaceutical companies. The RDPAC Code is not intended to restrain the promotion of pharmaceutical products in a manner that is detrimental to fair competition. Instead, it seeks to ensure that pharmaceutical companies conduct such promotion in a truthful manner, avoiding deceptive practices and potential conflicts of interest with healthcare professionals, and in compliance with applicable Chinese law. The RDPAC Code thereby aims to foster an environment where the general public can be confident that choices regarding their pharmaceutical products are being made on the basis of the merits of each product and the healthcare needs of patients.
- 《药品管理法实施条靓》(2002年9月1 5日起施行)
- 《广告法》(1 995年2月1日起施行)
- 《刑法》(1 997年10月1日起施行)
The laws and regulations regulating the promotion of pharmaceutical products include the following:
– The Drug Administration Law (revised December 1, 2001);
– The Implementation Regulation of the Drug Administration Law (effective September 15, 2002);
– Drug Registration Regulation (revised May 1, 2005);
– The Advertisement Law (effective February 1, 1995);
– The Anti-Unfair Competition Law (effective December 1, 1993);
– The Criminal Code (effective October 1, 1997);
– Regulation for the Administration of Adverse Drug Reaction Report and Monitoring (effective March 4, 2004);
– Temporary Regulation on the Administration of Prescription and OTC Drugs (effective January 1, 2000);
– Regulation on Drug Insert Sheets and Labeling (effective June 1, 2006);
– SFDA Notice to Further Standardize the Drug Name (effective June 1, 2006).
ARTICLE 1 OBJECTIVE AND SCOPE
The RDPAC Code sets out standards for the ethical promotion of pharmaceutical products to healthcare professionals to ensure that Member companies’interactions with healthcare professionals are appropriate and perceived as such.
The RDPAC Code covers the promotion to healthcare professionals of prescription-only pharmaceutical products.
(a) “Promotion”means any activity undertaken, organized or sponsored by a Member company which is directed at healthcare professionals to promote the prescription, recommendation, supply, administration or consumption of its pharmaceutical product(s) through all means, including oral, written, electronic, including internet communication.
(b) “Healthcare Professional”means any member of the medical, dental, pharmacy or nursing professions or any other person who in the course of his or her professional activities may prescribe, recommend, purchase, supply, or administer a pharmaceutical product.
(c) “Pharmaceutical product”as used in the RDPAC Code has the meaning of _Drugs_ set forth in Article 102 of the Drug Administration Law.
(d) “Member company” (“Member”) means a member of RDPAC, one of the conditions of the RDPAC membership being compliance with this Code.
This Code does not seek to regulate the following activities:
(a) promotion of prescription-only pharmaceutical products directly to the public, i.e. direct to consumer advertising (currently such promotion not allowed by Chinese law);
(b) promotion of self-medication products that are provided _over the counter_ without prescription;
(c) pricing or other trade terms for the supply of pharmaceutical products;
(d) the conduct of clinical trials (See Article 2.5); and,
(e) the provision of non-promotional information by Members, one example being correspondence needed to answer a specific question about a particular pharmaceutical product.
ARTICLE 2 GENERAL PRINCIPLES
2.1 Basis of Interaction
Members_ relationships with healthcare professionals are intended to benefit patients and to enhance the practice of medicine. Interactions should be focused on informing healthcare professionals about products, providing scientific and educational information and supporting medical research and education.
2.2 Independence of Healthcare Professionals No financial benefit or benefit-in-kind (including grants, scholarships, subsidies, support, consulting contracts or educational or practice related items) may be provided or offered to a healthcare professional in exchange for prescribing, recommending, purchasing, supplying or administering products or for a commitment to continue to do so. Nothing may be offered or provided in a manner or on conditions that would have an inappropriate influence on a healthcare professional’s prescribing practices.
Healthcare professionals may be engaged to provide genuine consultancy services for reasonable compensation and reimbursement of reasonable travel, lodging and meal expenses, however, such services should not be offered or provided in a manner or conditions that would have an inappropriate influence on a healthcare professionals prescribing practices.
2.3 Appropriate Use
Promotion should encourage the appropriate use of pharmaceutical products by presenting them objectively and without exaggerating their properties.
2.4 Chinese Laws and other Local Regulations In all cases, all applicable Chinese laws and regulations (Chinese law) must be observed and Members have a responsibility to check all relevant laws, local regulations and industry codes in advance of preparing promotional material or sponsoring and organizing events in any specific country.
2.5 Transparency of Promotion Promotion should not be disguised. Clinical assessments, post-marketing surveillance and experience programs and post-authorization studies must not be disguised promotion. Such assessments, programs and studies must be conducted with a primarily scientific or educational purpose. Material relating to pharmaceutical products and their uses, whether promotional in nature or not, which is sponsored by a company should clearly indicate by whom it has been sponsored. Where a company pays for or otherwise secures or arranges the publication of promotional material in journals, such promotional material must not resemble independent editorial matter.
2.6 Pre-Approval Communications and Off-label Use
No pharmaceutical product shall be promoted for use in China until drug registration approval for marketing purposes has been granted by Chinese drug administration authorities.
This provision is not intended to prevent the right of the scientific community and the public to be fully informed concerning scientific and medical progress. It is not intended to restrict a full and proper exchange of scientific information concerning a pharmaceutical product, including appropriate dissemination of investigational findings in scientific or lay communications media and at scientific conferences. Nor should it restrict public disclosure of information to stockholders and others concerning any pharmaceutical product, as may be required or desirable under applicable laws and regulations.
ARTICLE 3 STANDARDS OF PROMOTIONAL INFORMATION
3.1 Consistency of Product Information Promotion should not be inconsistent with pharmaceutical product information approved by Chinese drug administration authorities. Chinese healthcare professionals should have access to similar product information to that being communicated in developed countries.
3.2 Accurate and Not Misleading Promotional information should be clear, legible, accurate, balanced, fair, objective and sufficiently complete to enable the recipient to form his or her own opinion of the therapeutic value of the pharmaceutical product concerned. Promotional information should be based on an up-to-date evaluation of all relevant evidence and reflect that evidence clearly. It should not mislead by distortion, exaggeration, undue emphasis, omission or disparaging the competitor(s) or in any other way. Every effort should be made to avoid ambiguity. Absolute or all-embracing claims should be avoided, and descriptions such as ‘safe’and‘no side effects’should generally be avoided and should always be adequately qualified.
Promotion should be capable of substantiation either by reference to the approved labeling or by scientific evidence. Such evidence should be made available on request to healthcare professionals. Companies should deal objectively with requests for information made in good faith and should provide data which are appropriate to the source of the inquiry.
ARTICLE 4 PRINTED PROMOTIONAL MATERIALS
4.1 Content Requirements Subject to any additional requirements under Chinese law, all printed promotional materials other than those covered in 4.2 below must be legible and include:
(a) the name of the product (normally the brand name);
(b) the active ingredients, using approved names where they exist;
(c) the name and address of the pharmaceutical company or its agent responsible for marketing the product;
(d) date of production of the advertisement;
(e) “abbreviated prescribing information” which should include an approved indication or indications for use together with the dosage and method of use; and a succinct statement of the contraindications precautions and side effects.
Reprints of scientific and medical articles, when used as stand-alone documents, are not developed by pharmaceutical companies and as such cannot be considered as promotional materials. If, however, they are presented to a healthcare professional together with other, company originated documents, they then become promotional materials. In all cases, where promotion refers to, includes, or is presented together with scientific or medical articles or studies, clear references should be provided. Any reprint of artwork (including graphs, illustrations, photographs or tables) taken from articles and included or presented with promotional materials should clearly indicate the source of the artwork and be faithfully reproduced.
4.2 Reminder Advertisements
A“reminder” advertisement is defined as a short advertisement containing no more than the name of the product and a simple statement of indications to designate the therapeutic category of the product. For“reminder” advertisements, “abbreviated prescribing information” referred to in Article 4.1 above may be omitted.
ARTICLE 5 ELECTRONIC MATERIALS, INCLUDING AUDIOVISUALS
The same requirements shall apply to electronic promotional materials as apply to printed materials. Specifically, in the case of pharmaceutical product related websites:
(a) the identity of the pharmaceutical company and of the intended audience
should be readily apparent;
(b) the content should be appropriate for the intended audience;
(c) the presentation (content, links, etc.) should be appropriate and apparent to the intended audience; and
(d) country-specific information should comply with local laws and regulations.
ARTICLE 6 INTERACTIONS WITH HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS
6.1.1 Scientific and Educational Objectives The purpose and focus of all symposia, congresses and other promotional, scientific or professional meetings (an“Event”) for healthcare professionals organized or sponsored by a company should be to inform healthcare professionals about products and/or to provide scientific or educational information and should be conducted in full compliance with Article 2.2.
6.1.2 Events Involving Foreign Travel A Member can only organize or sponsor an event for healthcare professionals outside China if it is justified, i.e.:
(a) a significant proportion of the invited healthcare professionals are from outside China, and it makes greater logistical or security sense to hold the event in another country; or (b) the relevant resource or expertise that is the object or subject matter of the Event is located outside of China.
6.1.3 Promotional Information at Events
Promotional information which appears on exhibition stands or is distributed to participants at international scientific congresses and symposia may refer to pharmaceutical products which are not registered in the country where the Event takes place, or which are registered under different conditions, provided that the following conditions are observed:
(a) The meeting should be a truly international, scientific Event with a significant proportion of the speakers
and attendees from countries other than the country where the Event takes place;
(b) Promotional material (excluding promotional aids) for a pharmaceutical product not registered in the country of the Event should be accompanied by a suitable statement indicating the countries in which the product is registered and make clear that such product is not available locally;
(c) Promotional material which refers to the prescribing information (indications, warnings, etc.) authorized in a country or countries other than that in which the Event takes place but where the product is also registered, should be accompanied by an explanatory statement indicating that registration conditions differ internationally; and
(d) An explanatory statement should identify the countries in which the product is registered and make it clear that it is not available locally.
Members may sponsor healthcare professionals to attend Events provided such sponsorship is in accordance with the following requirements:
(a) the Event complies with the hospitality requirements in this Code as described in Article 6.5;
(b) sponsorship to healthcare professionals is limited to the payment of travel, meals, accommodation and registration fees;
(c) no payments are made to compensate healthcare professionals for time spent in attending the Event; and,
(d) any sponsorship provided to individual healthcare professionals must not be conditional upon an obligation to prescribe, recommend or promote any pharmaceutical product.
Members should not pay any costs associated with individuals accompanying invited healthcare professionals.
6.4 Payments for Speakers and Presenters
Payments of reasonable fees and reimbursement of out-of-pocket expenses against receipt, including travel and accommodation, may be provided to healthcare professionals who are providing genuine services as speakers or presenters on the basis of a written contract including reasonable compensation
terms with the company at the Event.
6.5.1 Appropriate Venue
All Events should be held in an appropriate venue that is conducive to the scientific or educational objectives and the purpose of the Event or meeting. Members should avoid using renowned or extravagant venues. The additional requirements set forth in Article 6 of this Code also apply accordingly.
6.5.2 Limits of Hospitality
Hospitality should be limited to refreshments and/or meals incidental to the main purpose of the Event and should only be provided:
(a) to participants of the Event and not their guests; and
(b) if it is moderate and reasonable as judged by local standards.
No stand-alone entertainment or other leisure or social activities should be provided or paid for by Members. At Events, entertainment or other leisure or social activities of modest nature which is secondary to the main purpose of the Event is allowed.
6.6 Gifts and Items of Medical Utility
Payments in cash or cash equivalents must not be offered to healthcare professionals.
6.6.2 Personal Gifts
Subject to Article 6.6.5, gifts for the personal benefit of healthcare professionals (including, but not limited to, music CDs, DVDs, sporting or entertainment tickets, paintings, food baskets, electronic items) must not be provided or offered.
6.6.3 Promotional Aids
Promotional aids or reminder items may be provided or offered to healthcare professionals and appropriate administrative staff, provided the gift is of minimal value and relevant to the practice of the healthcare professional. Possible examples of appropriate items include: pens, notepads and surgical gloves.
6.6.4 Items of Medical Utility
Items of medical utility may be offered or provided free of charge provided that such items are of modest value and are beneficial to the provision of medical services and for patient care. Items might include
an anatomical model for use in an examination room, or medical textbooks.
6.6.5 Cultural Courtesy Gifts
An inexpensive gift not related to the practice of medicine may be given on an infrequent basis to healthcare professional in acknowledgment of the official holidays of China(i.e. New Year, Spring Festival, Labor Day, National Day) and the Mid Autumn Festival.
ARTICLE 7 SAMPLES
7.1 Samples Permitted
Subject to any additional requirements of Chinese laws, free samples of a pharmaceutical product may be supplied to healthcare professionals in order to enhance patient care. Samples should clearly be identified as “Sample” or “Not for Sale” and should not be resold or otherwise misused.
7.2 Control and Accountability
Members should have adequate systems of control and accountability for samples provided to healthcare professionals including how to look after such samples whilst they are in possession of medical representatives.
ARTICLE 8 MEDICAL REPRESENTATIVES
Each Member shall ensure that its medical representatives, including personnel retained by way of contract with third parties, and any other company representatives who call on healthcare professionals, pharmacies, hospitals or other healthcare facilities in connection with the promotion of pharmaceutical products (each, a“Medical Representative”):
(a) approach their duties responsibly and ethically;
(b) be professionally trained, and certified according to the timetable and requirements/standards set in the RDPAC Medical Rep Certification Program, and possess sufficientmedical and technical knowledge to present information on their company’s products in an accurate, responsible and ethical manner;
(c) during each visit, and subject to any additional requirements of Chinese laws, provide the person visited with relevant information on the products they present, and should transmit back to their company any information they receive in relation to the use of their company_s products, particularly
reports of side effects;
(d) ensure that the frequency, timing and duration of visits to healthcare professionals, pharmacies, hospitals or other healthcare facilities, together with the manner in which they are made, comply with Chinese laws and relevant procedures officially recognized by the healthcare authorities.
Each Member should establish a scientific / medical service in charge of information about its pharmaceutical products. This scientific / medical service must include a doctor or, where appropriate, a pharmacist who will be responsible for approving any promotional material before release.
Each Member should promote the observance of this Code to its Medical Representatives and take corrective actions with those who are in breach of this Code. The remuneration systems for Medical
Representatives of each Member should not be such as to adversely influence the proper prescribing of pharmaceutical products by the physician.
ARTICLE 9 MISCELLANEOUS
RDPAC establishes a set of standards for relevant provisions of this Code, described and attached hereunder as Attachment 1.
ARTICLE 10 COMPLAINTS
Complaints relating to infringements of the RDPAC Code will be handled according to the proceedings and rules which are described and attached hereunder as Attachment 2.
Attachment 1 Standards of Promotional Practice
1. For the purpose of Article 6.2(b) and 6.4, local transportation to attend symposia, congresses and meetings may be reimbursed by Members for both ways of equal cost, against a receipt of one-way transportation not exceeding 100 RMB per event. For accommodation, companies are allowed to cover room charges (including taxes and breakfast), but not incidentals (minibar, room-service etc.). Travel costs may include ground transportation, taxes and travel insurance. Also, companies should make affirmative efforts to ensure that tickets issued to healthcare professionals be used appropriately for its intended purpose.
2. “Moderate and reasonable” in Article 6.5.2 should be interpreted as not more than three hundred (300) RMB per person per meal, with the exception for rare occasions where a maximum of five hundred (500) RMB per person per meal is allowed with prior approval and appropriate justification by the GM of the company.
3. “Modest nature” in Article 6.5.3 should be interpreted as prohibiting high profile, inappropriate or expensive entertainers or activities. For example, an appearance by a well known TV on pop star would not be considered as modest whereas a folk dance display or perfor mance by a local singer would be acceptable. Also, golf outings and entertainments are prohibited, as they are considered as stand alone leisure activities unrelated to scientific and educational promotion. “Secondary”here shall mean that, subject to the restrictions on _sponsorship_ under Article 6.5.2 and the prohibition against the provision or payment for any stand-alone entertainment or other leisure or social activities under this Article, the total time spent on
hospitality, including entertainment and other leisure or social activities, should
not exceed thirty percent (30%) of that of the Event itself excluding travel time.
4. “Minimal value” in Article 6.6.3 should be interpreted as not more than one hundred (100) RMB in value per item.
5. For interpretation of “modest value” in Article 6.6.4, any provisions on medical institutions accepting donation or sponsorship which may be issued by the Ministry of Health should be strictly followed.
6.“Inexpensive gift”in Article 6.6.5 should be interpreted as gift of not more than two hundred (200) RMB in value per person per holiday.
Attachment 2: Complaints and Dispute Resolution
1. General Provisions
Genuine complaints relating to infringements of the Code are encouraged. The complaint procedure provided herewith is open to any healthcare professional, a company or member of the public, acting in good faith within the spirit and intentions of the Code.
RDPAC shall ensure that its website contains information on this Code and the procedure to make a complaint under this Code, and shall actively engage itself in the IFPMA Code Compliance Network in order:
(a) to exchange best practices in code compliance and implementation worldwide;
(b) to facilitate prevention of breaches by encouraging communication and networking among companies and association officers;
(c) to create a forum for positive communication around industry selfregulation activities;
(d) to create a resource pool of experts in code compliance for needs of the RDPAC complaints procedure as described herein; and
(e) to stimulate discussions about new challenges related to industry’s promotion practices.
2. Complaint Procedure
Complaints must be in writing or by e-mail and include:
(a) the identity of the complainant, with a full mailing address (including fax number and email, if possible) for correspondence. On the request of the complainant, the identity of the complainant can be kept confidential to all parties outside the Executive Director of RDPAC and the adjudicating Penal;
(b) the identity of the Member company which is alleged to be in breach of the Code _( Cited Company_), and the name of any product or products which are specifically involved;
(c) a specific reference to the source of the advertisement/activity which is the subject of the complaint, of printed material or other evidence, and wherever possible, a copy of the material in question should be
(d) the date, where relevant, of the alleged breach of this Code; and,
(e) a brief description of the complaint with, if possible, a specific reference to the part of this Code under which the complaint is being made.
All correspondence should be addressed to:
Executive Director CAEFI R&D-based Pharmaceutical Association Committee
Rm 1301, Scitech Building
No. 22 Jianguomenwai Ave.Beijing 100004, PR China
Telephone: +86 (10) 6526 3488
Fax: +86 (10) 6526 3487
RDPAC Web site: http://www.rdpac.org
When a complaint, alleging a breach of the Code, is received by the Executive Director of RDPAC, it is first validated to ensure that:
(a) it appears to be a genuine matter, submitted in good faith;
(b) there is sufficient information to enable the complaint to be processed;
(c) the alleged breach concerns a company which is a RDPAC Member. If the complaint cannot be validated, it will not be processed by RDPAC under this Code and the complainant will be notified accordingly.
Upon validation of a complaint, the complaint, including a copy of any supporting evidence together with an accompanying letter from RDPAC (the _Letter_), is sent to the senior management of the Cited Company at local level within five (5) working days from its receipt by RDPAC.
5. Company Response
The Letter to the Cited Company indicates the time within which a response must be made on the complaint. This is normally thirty (30) calendar days from the company_ s receipt of the documentation. In exceptional circumstances, the Executive Director of RDPAC may grant an extension to the time limits. Where the company acknowledges that it has acted in breach of this Code, the response should indicate what action has been taken or will be taken to remedy the matter. In such circumstances, the Complainant may in its sole discretion withdraw its complaint and no adjudication be entered. Where the allegations are rejected, the reasons for rejection must be clearly stated and, where appropriate, supporting data (e.g. scientific evidence to support claims which have been questioned) must be provided.
The Executive Committee of RDPAC shall organize a hearing board_ ( Hearing Board_) to adjudicate each of the complaints referred for resolution. The Hearing Board shall be composed of the President of RDPAC and two other RDPAC EC members responsible for the respective working group to which the disputed matter is most closely related (each a _Board Member_).
Where the Cited Company rejects the allegation, or the Complainant disputes the Response of the Cited Company, the Executive Director of RDPAC may, in order for the two Parties to resolve the matter in a friendly manner, organize or facilitate a mediation procedure between the two Parties, where arguments and items of evidence can be discussed and examined initially. The mediation will normally last thirty (30) calendar days as from the date of receipt of the Company Response or a notice from the Complainant to dispute the Company Response. Any agreement between the two Parties to solve the matter in the mediation procedure will be verified by the Executive Director in writing and no adjudication be entered.
If the Parties fail to reach an agreement from the mediation procedure, a consultation procedure may be initiated, where an expert specialized in the area of the disputed matter (the_ Consultant_) will be appointed/designated upon consent of both Parties, for a reasonable fee which payment should be shared equally between the two Parties. The Consultant will be invited to review all the case materials and where the case requires, interview the Parties separately or jointly, based on which he/she will issue an advisory opinion (the“Advisory Opinion”) on the merits. This consultation procedure should normally take forty five (45) days from receipt of the notice appointing the Consultant, during which time additional information or argumentation may be requested from the Parties and the 45-day timeline extended where and to the extent necessary.
If a breach on the part of the Cited Company is identified in the Advisory Opinion, an immediate cessation of the breach as well as a signed undertaking by the Cited Company to prevent recurrence shall be requested by RDPAC together with the issuance of the Advisory Opinion. Upon consent of both Parties, the Advisory Opinion will be verified by the Executive Director in writing and no adjudication entered.
If either Party disputes the Advisory Opinion, the Executive Director should refer the dispute to the relevant Hearing Board immediately. The Hearing Board should, for each of the cases referred and within fifteen (15) days from the date of referral, assemble a panel of three (3) (the _Panel_ and each member a _Panelist_) to adjudicate on the merits of the dispute. A Panelist can be anyone with good reputation in the industry
and sufficiently knowledgeable in the area of the disputed matter and not personally related with either Party. Each Board Member may also act as a Panelist except in cases where the Board Member represents either Party or is otherwise associated with either Party. Any reasonable fee incurred from the assembly and activities of the Panel should be paid equally by the two Parties.
The adjudication procedure will normally take forty five (45) days as from the date the Panel is formed, and will be concluded by a final decision of the Panel on the merits of the case _( Decision_), issued on a simple-majority basis among the Panelists and taking into account all the evidence and arguments presented by the Parties and relevant witnesses, as well as the Advisory Opinion of the Consultant, if any. The Decision should be final under the Code and its Complaint procedure herein provided.
A Member company which is found in violation of this Code shall be sanctioned commensurate with the violation as decided by the Panel in their Final Decision:
(a) its violation shall be reported in the annual Status Report;
(b) it shall be required to present on the subject of _self-reflection of Code violation_, either in verbal or written form, in the immediate General Membership meeting, with the promise of no further violation;
(c) it shall undertake internal training as to this Code, including designation of a professional to implement the training;
(e) it may, upon agreement by more than half of the Member companies, be expelled from the RDPAC Membership.
8. Publication of the Implementation
RDPAC will issue annually a Status Report on the Code, summarizing its implementation, related RDPAC activities including its participation in the IFPMA Code Compliance Network, and a summary of all violations within the past year, including the name of any Member company found to be in violation as well as a short description of the violation.
The whole complaint and resolution process and activities, including the identity of the complainant, the Cited Company and the Panelists, the notices and correspondence between RDPAC or the Panel and each of the
Parties, case materials and arguments, as well as the imposition and implementation of the sanctions shall be kept in strict confidence by all the relevant parties involved in the dispute resolution process, except for those information or statement that are duly publicized by RDPAC in its annual Status Report of the Code.