Is it a coincidence that the ABPI has netted a whole shoal of conduct contraveners in the first month its amended Code of Practice became operational? No matter how carefully pharma treads, it seems there is no escape from the Code’s clutches. And Clause 2 — Bringing discredit to the industry/reducing confidence in the industry — seems to be proving particularly treacherous ground.
At the end of May it was reported that Bayer Healthcare was in breach of Clause 3.2 for 'encouraging prescribers to consider prescribing oral contraceptive Yasmin for reasons other than its licensed indication'; Clause 7.2 ('Making misleading claims') and Clause 7.9 ('Underplaying the side effects of Yasmin'). Bayer Schering Pharma’s prescribing policy document on vardenafil, its erectile dysfuynction treatment, contravened Clause 4.1 ('Failing to including prescribing information'). Chiesi and Lilly both breached Clause 9.1 ('Failing to maintain high standards'), while Lilly could add Clause 15.2 ('Failing to adhere to a high standard of ethical conduct' and Clause 19.1 ('Offering excessive hospitality to two health professionals') to its rap sheet. Chiesi also came up against Clause 18.4 ('Failing to provide an official therapeutic review that involved a range of relevant treatment choice'.)
Meanwhile, Bayer Schering, Chiesi and Lilly were all found in breach of Clause 2, as Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Allergan, ProStraken and Novartis have been.
It looks like the new Code of Conduct will take some getting used to. Indeed, the question at the moment is not so much "who has breached Clause 2?" but "who hasn't breached Clause 2?"