Completed cases

Complaints considered by the Code of Practice Panel are judged on the evidence provided by both parties. Once concluded a 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 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

This is an interim case report because the final report will be delayed due to the Code of Practice Appeal Board’s requirement for audits of Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Europe Ltd and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals Ltd’s procedures in relation to the Code (Paragraph 11.3 of the Constitution and Procedure refers). An Otsuka employee complained about the company’s procedures for updating the summary of product characteristics (SPC) and prescribing information for Jinarc (tolvaptan, used in chronic kidney disease), Samsca (tolvaptan,...

Breach Clause(s): 2, 4.1, 9.1

No breach Clause(s): 4.1, 9.1

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 01 June 2018

Completed: 25 June 2020

An anonymous employee who described him/herself as a concerned health professional, complained that Otsuka UK webpages promoted prescription only medicines to the public. The webpages were part of the Otsuka Europe website and the matter was taken up with Otsuka Europe. The complainant stated that as the Otsuka UK website products page listed the brand names, non-proprietary names and indications of the medicines sold by Otsuka UK, it promoted them to the public and encouraged patients...

Breach Clause(s): 9.1, 26.1, 26.2, 28.1

No breach Clause(s): 2, 9.1, 26.2

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 07 June 2019

Completed: 23 April 2020

An anonymous, non-contactable UCB employee complained about the openly accessible LinkedIn profile of one of his/her colleagues in which the colleague described his/her role at UCB as ‘Supporting Phase 3 programme in axial spondyloarthropathy for bimekizumab’. The complainant explained that bimekizumab was currently at a late stage of clinical development and he/she expected that UCB would appreciate any pre-licence interest which could be drummed up before the marketing authorization was granted. The complainant submitted that the colleague’s...

Breach Clause(s): 3.1, 14.1, 9.1

No breach Clause(s): 2, 4.1, 4.9, 4.10, 26.1, 26.2

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 13 December 2019

Completed: 27 March 2020

An anonymous, non-contactable individual, who described him/herself as a ‘concerned UK health professional’, drew attention to the webpages for IV irons on Vifor Pharma UK Limited’s corporate website and complained that the inverted equilateral triangle symbols were variously blue, grey or white and not black. The complainant was unclear as to whether the website was intended for the public or for health professionals as it included links to download leaflets for either patients or clinicians about...

Breach Clause(s): 4.10, 28.1

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 12 August 2019

Completed: 26 March 2020

An anonymous, contactable individual, who described him/herself as a GP was concerned about claims allegedly made by Novo Nordisk representatives with regard to Ozempic (semaglutide) and weight loss and cardiovascular benefits which he/she alleged was off-label promotion. Ozempic was indicated for the treatment of certain adults with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus as an adjunct to diet and exercise. It was a once weekly GLP-1 RA (glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist). The complainant was concerned that Novo...

Breach Clause(s): 7.2, 9.1

No breach Clause(s): 2, 3.2, 7.2, 7.3, 7.4, 7.10, 8.1, 9.1, 15.2, 15.9

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 23 September 2019

Completed: 11 March 2020

A complainant who described him/herself as a ‘concerned UK health professional’, noted that one webpage on Diurnal Limited’s corporate website, in the section aimed at health professionals, referred to current products and those in the company’s pipeline. A downloaded copy of the page which showed a table of data headed ‘Diurnal’s drug-development pipeline – Europe’ was provided. The complainant alleged that the table constituted pre-licence promotion and that there was no prescribing information or generic...

Breach Clause(s): 3.1, 4.1, 4.3, 9.1, 2

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 24 October 2019

Completed: 18 February 2020

An anonymous individual complained about unethical behaviour by Merz across the UK and Ireland with regard to Bocouture (botulinum toxin type A). The complainant alleged cross border trading of Bocouture from Northern Ireland where it was licensed into the Republic of Ireland where it was not licensed. The complainant alleged that Bocouture was ordered and picked up by a Merz employee from a distributor in Northern Ireland and delivered to a customer at a named medical...

Breach Clause(s): 9.1, 15.2

No breach Clause(s): 2, 3.1, 9.1, 15.2

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 24 October 2019

Completed: 13 February 2020

A complainant who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, alleged that the Invokana content hosted on the website appeared to be promotional. As there was no prescribing information or unique identifier, the complainant was concerned that the material had not been appropriately approved by the company. Invokana, marketed by Napp Pharmaceuticals Ltd, was used in the treatment of adults with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes as an adjunct to diet and exercise. The...

Breach Clause(s): 4.1

No breach Clause(s): 14.1

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 07 October 2019

Completed: 12 February 2020

AstraZeneca UK Limited voluntary admitted that one of its employees had used his/her personal Twitter account to re-tweet nine tweets about Forxiga (dapagliflozin) and one tweet about Lynparza (olaparib). Forxiga was indicated for use in adults with insufficiently controlled type 2 diabetes. Lynparza was indicated for maintenance and treatment of certain cancers. As Paragraph 5.6 of the Constitution and Procedure required the Director to treat a voluntary admission as a complaint, the matter was taken up...

Breach Clause(s): 3.2, 9.1, 14.3, 26.1

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 30 September 2019

Completed: 07 February 2020

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