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Prescribing Advice for GPs

An NHS Prescribing Advisers' Blog

Roche suspended from ABPI

Roche has been suspended from the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) after serious breaches of the code of practice were ruled.

A former employee of the company alleged the sales of orlistat (Xenical®) to a private diet clinic were excessive and that agreement had been reached to financially support acquisition of a new clinic. It further transpired that the medication has been sold to the owner of the clinic and that this individual held no medical qualifications and was therefore essentially a member of the public.

The ruling noted that Roche were made aware of irregular activities at this clinic in a representative report in May 2003. Despite this knowledge they continued to sell product for almost 2 years! In light of this the panel noted the apparent "disregard for patient care" and recommend suspension from the ABPI for undermining confidence in and bringing discredit upon the industry.

Action: Clinicians should be aware of this ruling and suspension.

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