Astellas UK suspended from ABPI following ‘deception on a grand scale’

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Astellas UK’s membership of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI) has been suspended for a year following complaints about a meeting organised for 100 clinicians in Europe that broke the industry’s code of practice.

The first complaint taken up by the Prescription Medicines Code of Practice Authority (PMCPA) was lodged against Astellas UK’s parent company Astellas Pharma Europe. It concerned arrangements for what had been promoted as an advisory board meeting in Milan for clinicians to discuss uro-oncology.

The PMCPA determined that the ABPI’s code of practice had been broken after investigations revealed that the meeting was held to promote an unlicensed indication for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer and clinicians were paid to attend.

The second complaint concerned Astellas Pharma Europe and an allegation that it had knowingly provided incorrect information to the PMCPA when it was investigating the original complaint about the Milan meeting.

Investigations into the second complaint revealed “deception on a grand scale”, according to an interim report on the PMCPA website.

John Kearney, president of the ABPI, says: “Breaches of the code are viewed seriously and this is reflected by the suspension. Our industry works under strict regulations and any company that fails to meet these standards will be held accountable.”

The ABPI says that Astellas has accepted both rulings and has taken action to prevent their recurrence. The companies are to be re-audited in September 2016, it adds.

Last updated
The Pharmaceutical Journal, PJ, July 2016, Vol 297, No 7891;297(7891):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201359

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