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 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

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

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 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

An anonymous, non-contactable individual, who described him/herself as a health professional, complained about a two-page advertisement (ref UK/UCV/0028/18) for Anoro Ellipta (umeclidinium and vilanterol) placed by GlaxoSmithKline UK Limited in the February 2019 edition of Guidelines in Practice. In the top left-hand corner of each page was a prominent blue circle inside which was stated ‘NICE 2018’. Each page also had a prominent depiction of the Anoro Ellipta device. Anoro Ellipta was a fixed dose combination...

Breach Clause(s): 3.2, 7.2, 9.1

No breach Clause(s): 2

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 22 March 2019

Completed: 18 October 2019

A complainant, who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional, complained about material placed on a BMJ website by UCB Pharma Ltd. The material was described by UCB as a ‘tile’; its only written content was the UCB corporate logo followed beneath by medicine name ‘Viridal’. Written on the lower edge of the tile was ‘MEN’S HEALTH’. Viridal (alprostadil) was used to treat erectile dysfunction. The complainant noted that there was no non-proprietary name or unique...

Breach Clause(s): 4.3, 14.1

Applicable Code: 2019

Received: 15 July 2019

Completed: 17 October 2019

An anonymous, contactable health professional complained about Novo Nordisk and its employees with regard to alleged insider trading and promoting and selling Novo Nordisk’s weight-loss prescription only medicine, Saxenda (liraglutide), directly to the public. The complainant stated that a pharmaceutical wholesale company recently approached him/her through his/her clinic, not realising that he/she had his/her own partnership in a wholesale company. The wholesale company had been trying to poach some of the complainant’s established customers who provided...

Breach Clause(s): 15.2

No breach Clause(s): 1.11, 2, 9.1, 9.10, 12.1, 26.1

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 18 March 2019

Completed: 14 October 2019

A complainant who described him/herself as a concerned UK health professional complained about an email from Orion Pharma UK Limited, sent via a named healthcare publication. The email urged recipients to watch a video on ‘Medicines optimisation and the clinical challenges in respiratory care’. It was stated at the top of the email that ‘This campaign has been produced by [a named healthcare publisher] with funding from Orion Pharma’. The complainant stated that the email contained...

Breach Clause(s): 9.1, 9.10

No breach Clause(s): 2, 4.1, 4.3, 4.4, 4.6, 4.8, 4.9, 12.1, 14.1

Applicable Code: 2016

Received: 23 March 2019

Completed: 02 October 2019

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