International pharmaceutical manufacturer Roche Pharma, which has bases in East Sussex and Hertfordshire, has been suspended from practice in the UK for a minimum of six months by the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).
The ABPI deemed that the firm had taken action ‘likely to bring discredit on, or reduce confidence in, the pharmaceutical industry,’ in contravention of clause two of the ABPI code of practice, when between 2003 and 2005 it supplied the prescription-only obesity drug Xenical to private diet clinics. It was also alleged that the firm were to provide £55,000 to the operator of the clinics to purchase another base. A panel for the ABPI found that this latter action was linked to the supply of Xenical and therefore found it a further contravention of the code.
The malpractice came to light after a former Roche employee register a complaint with the ABPI after the Financial Times reported on the action in February of this year.
Chris Brinsmead, president of the ABPI, said: “The highest possible ethical standards are required by the pharmaceutical industry in all its activities. Breaches of the code are viewed seriously and this is reflected by the suspension.”
Roche Pharma will face an audit of company procedures after serving its suspension, the results of which will determine whether it is allowed to re-enter the Association.