News

Breach of ABPI Code of Practice by UCB and PharmaMar

Hannah Alderton 12 April 2018

UCB and PharmaMar have been named in advertisements following breaches of the ABPI Code of Practice for the Pharmaceutical Industry. Both have brought discredit upon, and reduced confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry. In addition, PharmaMar has been publicly reprimanded and required to issue a corrective statement.

UCB

For failing to review and re-certify materials on its corporate website, aimed at the public or patients, and for the apparently longstanding poor governance of that website, UCB was ruled in breach of the following clauses of the Code:

Clause 2         - Bringing discredit upon, and reducing confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry

Clause 7.2      - Providing inaccurate information

Clause 9.1      - Failing to maintain high standards

Clause 14.5    - Using material for more than two years without re-certification

Clause 26.2    - Providing inaccurate information for the public

PharmaMar

For promoting Yondelis (trabectedin) for an unlicensed indication, disguising the promotional nature of material, making a misleading comparison and an unsubstantiated claim and failing to certify promotional materials, PharmaMar was ruled in breach of the following clauses of the Code:

Clause 2         - Bringing discredit upon, and reducing confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry

Clause 3.2      - Promoting a medicine for an unlicensed indication

Clause 7.2      - Making a misleading comparison

Clause 7.4      - Making an unsubstantiated claim

Clause 9.1      - Failing to maintain high standards

Clause 12.1    - Disguising promotional material

Clause 14.1    - Failing to certify promotional material

The Code of Practice Panel reported PharmaMar to the Code of Practice Appeal Board which subsequently publicly reprimanded the company for failing to make any meaningful effort to undertake a thorough investigation and to provide evidence to support its position.

Such an approach raised grave concerns about the importance attached by PharmaMar to compliance and self-regulation. The Appeal Board also required PharmaMar to issue a corrective statement.

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