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MCA in Practice

MCA Practice is the newsletter of the Marketing Code Authority's members and stakeholders. Please share it with interested persons and let us have comments, feedback and contributions.
The Marketing Code Authority (MCA) is a non-profit, self-regulatory body with voluntary membership drawn from manufacturers of medicines, medical devices and in-vitro diagnostics (IVDs). The MCA's Code of Marketing Practice sets ethical standards for the marketing of health products in South Africa.


Code Matters
Tips/FAQs from EO's desk
Complaints/ Appeals
Policy/ Regulatory

Code Matters

Ex-Parte committee ruling; "sponsorship in HCP facilities contravenes the Code"

An Ex-Parte committee has found that payment for services or facilities in an HCP’s working environment should be prohibited. CTAC has proposed amendments to the guidance note which will inform the Code review process.

Read draft guideline

MCA Members are accountable for statements made or published by “Influencer Marketers”. 

Read more

MCA supports the IFPMA on Code enforcement in SA

There is a difference between the IFPMA and MCA Code policies on promotional items and cultural gifts; 
  • Cultural gifts are allowed within limits by the MCA Code but not by the IFPMA Code, and
  • .IFPMA  does not allow promotional items for prescription products. 
The MCA Code on the other hand goes beyond the IFPMA Code in that it also applies to medical devices,  and to complementary medicines. 
The Codes are otherwise similar and it is up to members to set their own compliance standards which may be above the MCA minimum.The IFPMA does not play a role on the adjudication of complaints in South Africa and  relies on  the partnership with the MCA in this respect.
Go to IFPMA Code

Marketing Code review starting February - have your say!

The Marketing Code is up for review.  Topics include (but not restricted to) gifting, sponsorship in doctors’ waiting rooms, influencer marketing and advertising of complementary medicines.
All members are invited to communicate suggestions through trade associations or MCA's  independent members' sector.

CTAC meeting for Code review -  26th February 2020.
Go to MCA latest Code


Partnership with  Health Funders' Asociation (HFA)

An MoU should be signed shortly between the MCA and the HFA to provide for co-operation on the promotion of ethical marketing of health products. 
The MCA/HFA MoU will encourage medical schemes to consider ethical marketing of medicines and compliance with the MCA Code as a recommendation for medical scheme reimbursement of products and for recognition of DSPs. 

We welcome our new Associate Members


The Smart Group

Training provider

Glycone Healthcare

Training provider

Members are invited to print the "member" or "associate member" logos on stationery, websites and promotional material, as appropriate.

Request logo in JPEG format

Code training dates 2020 & certification

All Customer facing staff must have current MCA certificates (Valid for 2 years). The dates for SAAPI/MCA Code training 2020 are;   4th March,   27th May,   27th August,   28th October
Assessment fees are R275 (ex. VAT). Fees are discounted if assessment is completed within a month of training. 
The MCA offers in-house training for members .  Contact Tasmirah at
Book Code training or get help with certification portal

Tips | FAQs from the EO's desk

1. Are pharmaceutical representatives allowed to call on psychologists?
EO suggestion
EO suggestion
How would you have answered?
2. If a company has a global procedure for development and approval of promotional and educational material. adapted to include local laws and the MCA Code, can responsibility for approval be delegated to different departments or individuals?
EO suggestion
How would you have answered?

Complaints/ Appeals

MCA Adjudicating Committee upholds recent complaint.  Comittee ruling: Code breach and R150,000 fine.

The complaint involved two MCA member companies.  The complainant submitted that claims made with respect to safety/ lack of safety of product packaging were disparaging, unsubstantiated and misleading. Multiple promotional activities were the subject of the complaint.  The finding may be appealed.
Read summary

Members, the public and HCPs are encouraged to report suspected breaches of the Code. Where the potential breaches relate to non-members, send in the details to MCA to raise with the company concerned. Send photographs and date and place of potential infringement.
Report a breach to the MCA

Policy | Regulatory

New MCA policy document gives compliance guidance where the Code is "silent".

LInk to MCA document

SAHPRA relies on advertising claims and a company having a S22C(1)(b) licence to guide decisions on "right of sale" and "need to register" complementary medicines (CMs)

"Roadmap and transitional process for the regulation of complementary medicines", SAHPRA 7.02, September 2019
Go to SAHPRA “Roadmap” document

Compulsory CPD for pharmacists now implemented.

Step 1: Submit a declaration via SAPC website
step 2: Submit report on 6 CPD activities this year
Read SAPC CPD regulation GN 668
Read SAPC CPD draft guidance note BN 171
Read SAPC Reg; Categories of persons required to do CPD BN 201

Registration of specialist industrial pharmacists.

SAPC has published - draft criteria for registration of specialist industrial pharmacists.  

Go to SAPC document BN 173




SAAPI CONFERENCE 2020 11-12 June 2020


PSSA CONFERENCE  2020 and  75TH AGM  06-08 Aug

Request to add conference details to MCA site

Do you have a question on the Code?

Ask us ....

Contact Details | Links

Newsletter Contributions:
Tasmirah Mall

MCA Stakeholder & Operations Officer
BA Hons. (Strategic Communication)
+27 63 044 5200

Val Beaumont

MCA Executive Officer
B. Pharm, M.Pharm 
(Industrial Pharmacy) FPS
+27 82 828 3256



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