The Association for Accessible Medicines (AAM) has established a new Code of Business Ethics to memorialize the ethical and business standards to which our member organizations will be held. Unanimously endorsed by our Board of Directors, the code takes effect on September 1.
Is there anything surprising in the Code? No and yes.
Nothing in the new code should shock industry observers, because many of the practices discussed in the document represent behaviors that our companies have been demonstrating for many years. What distinguishes our code from others is the clear recognition of the ethical value of access to medicines. The AAM Code also prioritizes market competition as a driving force for enhanced access.
AAM also endorses international principles of business ethics including the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Mexico City Principles on Voluntary Codes of Business Ethics in the Biopharmaceutical Sector. Yet generic and biosimilar companies are often distinct from the brand name pharmaceutical industry signatories to those principles.
The generic drug and biosimilars industry is characterized by intense competition among our companies who typically race to be the first to obtain FDA approval for more affordable versions of brand name drugs. Thus, AAM member companies bring enormous cost savings to patients and our health care system, especially when multiple generic medicines enter the market for a given treatment.
The AAM Code recognizes and emphasizes these critical differences that make our industry unique.
As stated in the introduction,
“Every dollar saved at the pharmacy counter is a dollar that patients can spend on life’s essentials and other pursuits — or put away for future use. We help patients live better lives, and we do so in a way that saves precious resources for patients, taxpayers, and our economy.”
The AAM Code of Business Ethics is a proclamation for our members, as well as our patients and customers, of the values upon which our industry is based, and the ethical and business standards to which we are committed to operating together with other members of the healthcare ecosystem. We are proud of this code, which represents extensive collaboration between members and staff and reflects state-of-the-art ethical standards for the generics and biosimilars industries. Please contact us if you have questions about AAM’s newly ratified Code of Business Ethics.
By Jeff Francer, AAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel