Completed cases

Complaints considered under the Code by the Code of Practice Panel are judged on the evidence provided by both parties. Once concluded the case report is published on this website. Good compliance decisions rely on both the interpretation of the Code and an understanding of its application, published case reports help in this regard and set precedent in a particular set of circumstances. When making decisions on compliance with the Code knowledge gained from previous case reports can be beneficial.                        

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Cases can only link to clauses in the interactive 2019 or 2016 Codes.




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A respiratory nurse complained about Facebook/Instagram posts by an AstraZeneca UK Limited sales manager. The posts referred to a named nurse who was a key opinion leader. The complainant stated that he/she attended many respiratory meetings locally and nationally and it had recently been brought to his/her attention by a colleague that a named respiratory influencer and educational nurse lead (nurse A) had posted on Facebook/Instagram a picture of his/her partner dressed up to go...

Breach Clause(s): 9.1, 15.2

No breach Clause(s): 9.1, 15.2

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 04 April 2019

Completed: 29 October 2020

A complainant, who described him/herself as a ‘concerned UK health professional’, complained about a tweet regarding Zejula (niraparib tosylate monohydrate) published on GlaxoSmithKline’s global corporate Twitter channel which appeared in his/her Twitter feed. Zejula was indicated as monotherapy for the maintenance treatment of adults with platinum-sensitive relapsed high grade serous epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer who were in response to platinum-based chemotherapy. The tweet was titled, ‘Strengthening our pipeline remains our top priority...

Breach Clause(s): 26.1

No breach Clause(s): 4.1, 4.3

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 26 July 2019

Completed: 12 December 2019

A complainant who described him/herself as a ‘concerned UK health professional’, complained about a two-page advertisement for Relvar Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol) placed in the April 2019 edition of Pulse by GlaxoSmithKline UK Limited. Relvar Ellipta was a combination of an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS (fluticasone furoate)) and a long-acting beta2 agonist (LABA (vilanterol)). Relvar Ellipta was indicated for, inter alia, the regular treatment of asthma in adults and adolescents aged 12 years and older where use...

Breach Clause(s): 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.10, 9.1

No breach Clause(s): 3.2

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 26 July 2019

Completed: 09 December 2019

An anonymous, contactable ‘concerned member of the public’ submitted a complaint about a promotional exhibition stand run by Boehringer Ingelheim Limited and Eli Lilly and Company Limited (the Alliance). The exhibition stand promoted Boehringer Ingelheim’s products Jardiance (empagliflozin) and Trajenta (Iinagliptin) at the Clinical Pharmacy Congress (CPC) held on 7 and 8 June at ExCeL London. Jardiance and Trajenta were each used in certain patients with type 2 diabetes. The complainant alleged that the clear visibility of...

No breach Clause(s): 9.1, 26.1

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 27 July 2019

Completed: 05 December 2019

A complainant who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, complained about the online promotion of Invokana (canagliflozin) and Vokanamet (canagliflozin and metformin) by Mundibiopharma. Invokana and Vokanamet were used as an adjunct to diet and exercise in certain adults with type 2 diabetes. The complainant had received an email titled ‘ISN-WCN [International Society of Nephrology – World Conference of Nephrology] Invokana (R) (canagliflozin) virtual booth: Get the latest data on SGLT2 [sodium-glucose transport protein...

Breach Clause(s): 4.1, 7.2, 7.3, 9.1, 14.1

No breach Clause(s): 2, 4.1, 7.8

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 26 April 2019

Completed: 27 November 2019

A complainant, who described him/herself as a ‘concerned UK health professional’, complained about GW Pharmaceuticals’ website ( GW was the marketing authorisation holder of Sativex (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol) used in adults with multiple sclerosis. A marketing authorisation application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) had been made for Epidiolex (cannabidiol) for use in the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS) and Dravet syndrome. GW also had a number of other cannabinoid products...

Breach Clause(s): 3.1, 4.1, 4.6

No breach Clause(s): 2, 3.2, 16.1, 26.1, 26.2, 28.1, 29

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 24 April 2019

Completed: 18 November 2019

An anonymous, non-contactable individual who described him/herself as a concerned physician, complained about the conduct of Santen UK Limited employees at the annual meeting of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCOphth) in 2019 and a Santen organised meeting. Santen held marketing authorizations for a number of prescription-only eye drops including those used to treat glaucoma. It had also acquired the rights to Microshunt, a medical device for use in glaucoma. The complainant drew attention to a...

No breach Clause(s): 2, 9.1, 11.1, 18.1, 22.1, 23.1

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 19 June 2019

Completed: 15 November 2019

A health professional complained that the Disclosure UK website indicated that he/she had received financial support from Merck Sharp & Dohme which was not so. The complainant stated that he/she had never received any support from the company and had no contact with it in any capacity. The complainant submitted that the incorrect data had resulted in personal reputational damage and a potential fraud investigation. The detailed response from Merck Sharp & Dohme is given below. The...

Breach Clause(s): 7.2, 24.1

No breach Clause(s): 2, 9.1

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 21 December 2018

Completed: 15 November 2019

A complainant who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, complained for a second time about a post received on his/her LinkedIn feed from Alexion Pharmaceuticals. The LinkedIn message was first brought to the Authority’s attention in Case AUTH/3051/6/18. The message informed readers, inter alia, that Alexion had submitted an EU application for approval of ALXN1210 as a treatment for paroxysmal nocturnal haemoglobinuria (PNH) and included a link to a press release about Alexion...

Breach Clause(s): 3.1, 14.1

No breach Clause(s): 4.1, 4.9, 11.1, 26.1, 26.2, 26.3

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 20 February 2019

Completed: 12 November 2019

An individual, who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, complained about the Events section of a GlaxoSmithKline website. The section focussed on fluticasone furoate which was one of the active ingredients in Relvar Ellipta (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol trifenatate), used in the treatment of asthma. The complainant noted a webinar listed on the website as an upcoming event. There was no prescribing information available on either the front page of the website, or where the event...

Breach Clause(s): 4.1, 4.4, 9.1

No breach Clause(s): 2, 4.1, 4.4, 7.2, 7.4, 3.2

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 28 March 2019

Completed: 01 November 2019

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