Ethics in pharmaceutical marketing

Pharmaceutical companies operate in a highly-regulated environment and their sales and marketing practices are subject to a high level of scrutiny. Sudler & Hennessey, a WPP agency providing pharmaceutical advertising, promotional and medical education services, has implemented a full compliance program to make sure its client work meets the highest ethical standards and to provide guidance to clients on regulatory compliance.


A full-time compliance officer works to embed high ethical standards, oversees training and policy implementation, and collaborates with clients on ethical issues. A Regulatory Ethical Monitoring Board, made up of senior leaders, oversees compliance efforts and reviews any cases of concern. 


All employees must understand relevant regulations and comply with the agency’s healthcare compliance guidelines. New hires complete compliance training within the first 45 days of employment, and receive regular communications on ethics and compliance. These include examples of ethical dilemmas and scenarios employees may encounter in their work, to help promote discussion on these topics.