Earlier this week, the Chicago City Council joined other government agencies in imposing licensure and marketing requirements on pharmaceutical representatives when it unanimously approved licensing requirements for pharmaceutical representatives in the City of Chicago. Individuals who conduct business in the City of Chicago as a pharmaceutical representative for 15 or more days per year must obtain a license, which includes completing an educational course determined by the Commissioner of Public Health (Commissioner), submitting a registration form to the Department, and paying a $750 licensure fee. Renewal applicants will be required to complete at least 5 hours of continuing education in the areas of ethics, pharmacology, laws and regulations applicable to pharmaceutical marketing, and other areas that the Commissioner may designate by rule. Training courses may not be provided by the pharmaceutical representative’s employer. The ordinance takes effect on July 1, 2017.

The ordinance also provides the Commissioner with rulemaking authority to require pharmaceutical representatives to provide certain information regarding his/her interactions with health care professionals to the Commissioner. This information may include a list of health care professionals within the City of Chicago contacted; the number of times the health care professionals were contacted; the location and duration of contact; the pharmaceuticals promoted; whether product samples, materials, or gifts of any value were provided to the health care professional and the value of the products, materials, or gifts; and whether and how the health care professional was compensated for contact with the pharmaceutical representative.

Additionally, the ordinance requires the Commissioner to produce a list of ethical standards for pharmaceutical representatives that shall be incorporated into the rules and published on the City’s website. At a minimum, pharmaceutical representatives shall not:

  1. Engage in any deceptive or misleading marketing of a pharmaceutical product, including the knowing concealment, suppression, omission, misleading representation, or misstatement of any material fact;
  2. Use a title or designation that could reasonably lead a licensed health professional, or an employee or representative of a licensed health professional, to believe that the pharmaceutical detailer is licensed to practice medicine, nursing, dentistry, optometry, pharmacy, or other similar health occupation, in the City of Chicago, unless the pharmaceutical detailer currently holds such a license; or
  3. Attend patient examinations without the consent of the patient.

Any person violating any provision of the ordinance may be fined $1,000 to $3,000 per offense, where each day that a violation continues constitutes a separate and distinct offense.